Trump points to 'vicious' world in discussing writer's death

Turkey's foreign minister has criticized President Donald Trump, saying the U.S. leader appears to want to turn a blind eye to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Mevlut Cavusoglu also described many European nations' response to Khashoggi's killing as "artificial" and "cosmetic." Cavusoglu was referring to bans imposed by some countries on the Saudi citizens detained in Saudi Arabia over the killing, from entering European nations.

Cavusoglu spoke to Turkey's CNN-Turk television on Friday.

Trump on Thursday disputed that U.S. intelligence officials had concluded that Saudi crown prince had ordered the killing of Khashoggi — a U.S.-based journalist who was critical of his rule.

Cavusoglu sais: "Trump's statements amount to him saying 'I'll turn a blind eye no matter what'."

He added: "Money isn't everything. We must not move away from human values."

Citing vehement denials by the crown prince and king that they were involved, Trump said Thursday that "maybe the world should be held accountable because the world is a vicious place. The world is a very, very vicious place".

Critics in Congress and high-ranking officials in other countries are accusing Trump of ignoring human rights and giving Saudi Arabia a pass for economic reasons, including its influence on the world oil market.

Trump said this week he would not impose harsher penalties on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the death and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last month.

"My policy is very simple: America first, keep America great again and that's what I'm doing," Trump told reporters after a Thanksgiving Day telephone call with members of the military.

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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 12 : A group of people hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People hold signs at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia during protest about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Washington. Standing center is David Barrows with Code Pink, wearing a mask of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, people hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington. The Trump administration’s ongoing courtship of Saudi Arabia is on pause over allegations that the key U.S. ally is involved in the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi writer and dissident who went into his nation’s consulate in Turkey but never came out. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File )
Activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding posters with photos of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, talk to members of the media, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. The poster reads in Turkish: ' Jamal Khashoggi, missing since October 2, 2018'. Khashoggi disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkish officials have alleged he was killed in the compound while Saudis officials said he left the building unharmed. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Photographers take pictures of an activist, a member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of he media cover a news announcement/protest by activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, in support of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Khashoggi disappeared a week ago after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 file photo, members of the Turkish-Arab Journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. The disappearance of Khashoggi, during a visit to his country’s consulate in Istanbul last week, raises a dark question for anyone who dares criticize governments or speak out against those in power: Will the world have their back? (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.Turkish officials have said they believe that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was slain in "a preplanned murder" at the kingdom's consulate and that his body was later removed. Saudi officials have denied the allegations as baseless.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
CCTV cameras and a Saudi Arabian flag are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters hold a portrait of missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi reading 'Jamal Khashoggi is missing since October 2' during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 9, 2018 in Istanbul. - Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished last on October 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate to receive official documents ahead of his marriage to a Turkish woman. A Turkish government source told AFP at the weekend that the police believe the journalist 'was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day'. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official opens the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official looks through the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gestures as she waits to enter the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (C) holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi as she speaks to medias during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (C) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (2nd L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman enters the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Egyptian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gives her passport to a staff of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Media members work during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (R), flanked by Egytian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L), speaks during a press conference as they hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: A man holds a poster during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A protestor holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
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The crown prince and his father, King Salman, said they did not commit "this atrocity," Trump said.

"It's a terrible thing. I dislike it more than you do. But the fact is ... they create tremendous wealth, really tremendous jobs in their purchases and very importantly, they keep the oil price down."

American intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing in the Saudi Consulate in Turkey, according to a U.S. official familiar with the assessment. The official was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Others familiar with the case caution that while it's likely that the crown prince was involved in the death, questions remain about the extent of his culpability.

Several lawmakers have indicated that the U.S. has no "smoking gun" that proves the crown prince was responsible. They have called on the CIA and other top intelligence agencies to share publicly what they told the president about the slaying.

"I hate the crime," Trump said while on vacation in Florida. "I hate what's done. I hate the cover-up and I will tell you this — the crown prince hates it more than I do."

He said the CIA "points it both ways and as I said, maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But I will say very strongly that it's a very important ally and if we go by a certain standard, we won't be able to have allies with almost any country."

He also has pushed back on the idea that his refusal to punish the Saudis more will embolden other governments to go after journalists and commit other human rights abuses.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has noted that the U.S. has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials suspected of involvement in the killing.

"We've sanctioned 17 people — some of them very senior in the Saudi government," Pompeo said Wednesday in a radio interview with KCMO in Kansas City, Missouri. "We are going to make sure that America always stands for human rights."

Saudi prosecutors have said a 15-man team sent to Istanbul killed Khashoggi with tranquilizers and dismembered his body, which has not been found. Those findings came after Saudi authorities spent weeks denying Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate.

Some lawmakers have triggered investigations into Khashoggi's death and specifically whether the crown prince was responsible. The investigations were requested under provisions of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

The act requires the president to report back to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee within 120 days — in this case by Feb. 7 — on whether the crown prince was responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against someone exercising freedom of expression and the administration's decision on whether sanctions are warranted.

 

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