Washington Post contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain a document for his upcoming marriage. His disappearance created an international crisis. Turkish officials said they believed he was killed inside the building, and they demanded answers from Saudi Arabia.
President Trump and his administration moved between a hard and a soft approach to Khashoggi’s disappearance and slaying. While Trump initially said the Saudis’ denial of having any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi was credible, he then expressed doubts, calling it “the worst coverup ever” after the Saudi government changed its initial account, acknowledging that Khashoggi did die inside the Saudi Consulate, in “fistfight” with “rogue” agents.
More recently, Saudi officials indicted 11 Saudi citizens in the slaying, and the Trump administration announced economic sanctions against 17 Saudis accused of taking part in the plot to kill the journalist. But even as the CIA has concluded with high confidence that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the killing, Trump released a long statement preemptively making the case for not punishing Mohammed or his father, King Salman, even if they were involved.
Aaron Blake contributed to this report.
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Photo illustrations based on photos by Carolyn Kaster/AP, Evan Vucci/AP, Alex Brandon/AP, Leah Millis/Reuters and Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Originally published Oct. 17, 2018.