The latest on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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4:08 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

President Trump: "Certainly looks" like Khashoggi is dead

From CNN's Betsy Klein

President Trump was asked Thursday if he believes journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead.

“It certainly looks that way to me, it’s very sad. It certainly looks that way," he said.

Trump, who briefly took questions at Andrews Air Force Base before departing for Montana, said the administration is waiting on the results of “three investigations."

“We’ll be making a statement, a very strong statement,” he said, saying that the administration will “get to the bottom” of what happened to Khashoggi. 

Asked about consequences for those involved, Trump vowed it would be “very severe.”

“It’ll have to be very severe,” he said, “But we’ll see what happens.”

3:56 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Fox Business, Saudi conference's last media partner, pulls out

From CNN’s Hadas Gold and Oliver Darcy

Fox Business Network, which had been the lone remaining media partner participating in this year's Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia, dropped out of the event on Thursday.

Here's the network's statement:

“FOX Business Network has canceled its sponsorship and participation in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia. We continue to seek an interview with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.”

For more than a week, Fox Business Network had said its participation in a high-profile summit in Saudi Arabia next week was "under review."

All of the other international news outlets that had agreed to sponsor the event in Riyadh — CNN, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Financial Times, CNBC and Nikkei — pulled out by last weekend, following the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

4:39 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Khashoggi's family consider him to be missing — until given proof otherwise

From CNN's Steve Forrest

The family of Jamal Khashoggi consider him to be a “missing person,” they said in a statement given to CNN on Thursday.

The family has “no legal or official proof” to believe otherwise, according to Motasem Khashoggi, cousin of Jamal and spokesperson for the Khashoggi family in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He added that Jamal was never a dissident.

Motasem Khashoggi said his family has been in “close contact with the Saudi government at the highest level.” The authorities have shared the “many steps that are being taken at the very top to answer many of the questions we, and the world have, regarding Jamal's disappearance.” 

Earlier in the week, CNN carried a statement from Khashoggi’s family that called for an international commission to investigate his “death.”

2:29 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence: "The world deserves answers"

From CNN's Steve Brusk and Julie Gallagher

Vice President Mike Pence, arriving in Colorado for a campaign event, said the world deserves to know what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He told reporters at Buckley Air Force Base that the Saudi investigation will be completed in a matter of days.

But he added, “When we have that information, and we won’t solely rely on that information. We’ll collect all the evidence and the President will have a decision to make and what the proper course of action is for us going forward. But, the world deserves answers."

“If what has been alleged occurred, if an innocent person lost at the hands of violence, that is to be condemned. If a journalist lost their life at the hand of violence, that is a threat to a free and independent press around the world and there will be consequences. But we’ll wait for the facts, we’ll wait for all of the information to come in.”
2:07 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

UN spokesperson: Too soon to call for investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance

Form CNN's Richard Roth

Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.
Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiancée Hatice Cengiz.

United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric expressed that it is too soon for Secretary-General António Guterres to ask for an investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He was responding to Thursday’s call by Amnesty International and others to have Turkey ask for an outside independent UN ordered probe.

Dujarric, speaking at a daily televised press briefing, said Guterres wants the truth to come out but added that the investigations that are already underway need to progress.

The spokesman said the UN leader, in order to establish a UN investigation, would need a legislative directive from a UN body and cooperation by Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

However, some investigations in the UN system take place without a nation’s agreement. 

Let's “take things one step at a time," he said.

Earlier, UK Ambassador to the UN Karen Pierce told reporters she is not aware of any request to the UN to investigate.

1:38 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Saudi intelligence officer played “pivotal role” in Khashoggi's apparent killing

From CNN’s Gul Tuysuz 

A source familiar with the investigation said Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi intelligence officer and former diplomat, played a “pivotal role” in the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

The source said that Mutreb was fully aware of “the plot” of the operation.

CNN has previously reported that Mutreb is one of the men under investigation by Turkish authorities. Mutreb is closely connected to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a Saudi source told CNN.

"He was seconded to an elite protection brigade within the Royal Guard to serve as the personal security force of [the Crown Prince]," the source told CNN.

Photographs have emerged of Mutreb with bin Salman during the Crown Prince's tour of the United States earlier this year.

12:15 p.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Why Steven Mnuchin pulled out of Saudi investment conference

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

There were a few main factors in the decision to scrap Steven Mnuchin’s planned participation in the Future Investment Initiative, according to a senior administration official. 

The chief factor? The withdrawal on Thursday of several of Mnuchin’s European counterparts, including ministers from France and the UK. Both Mnuchin and President Trump had been waiting to see what other countries would do before deciding themselves. 

Another factor was pressure from business leaders who themselves had made the decision to withdraw. In calls last week and over the weekend, top executives told Mnuchin they wanted to cancel and encouraged him to as well. But Mnuchin told them it was not his call, but Trump’s. 

Ultimately many top executives — including some close to Trump and his family — pulled out before Mnuchin. But Mnuchin’s plans remained in place, even as he relayed the concerns from the business leaders to Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump insisted no decision be made until other countries made their own announcements.

11:59 a.m. ET, October 18, 2018

Trump tweets about Pompeo meeting: We discussed the Saudi situation in great detail

President Trump, who met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this morning, said they discussed the Saudi situation in "great detail."

Pompeo had just returned to Washington after meeting with Turkish and Saudi officials concerning the disappearance and apparent death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier today, Pompeo emerged from the meeting with Trump and said he advised the President to give the Saudis a few days to complete an investigation.

"He is waiting for the results of the investigations being done by the Saudis and Turkey," Trump tweeted.

Here are Trump's tweets:

11:42 a.m. ET, October 18, 2018

US Treasury Secretary pulls out of Saudi investment conference

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin just tweeted that he will not participate in upcoming Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia.

Some context: In recent days, a number of big names who recently pulled out of the conference, which is dubbed the “Davos of the desert."

Those business A-listers include IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and London Stock Exchange CEO David Schwimmer.