ADDS KUSHNER COMMENTS in GRAFS 12-14
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday there is “no reason ” for Saudi Arabia to drag out its investigation into the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi for another month.
“That's a long time, ” Trump told reporters at the White House before departing for the state of Texas. “Be faster. ”
After denying knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts for two weeks, Saudi Arabia on Saturday admitted he was killed during a fight inside its Istanbul consulate.
His body has not been recovered, nor has Saudi Arabia explained its shifting narrative on Khashoggi's case.
Trump said he is “not satisfied ” with Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's disappearance — just days after calling it a “great first step “.
The president claimed Washington has “top intelligence people in Turkey ” who will be returning Monday night or Tuesday morning to brief him on the matter.
“We're going to see what we have. I'll know a lot tomorrow, ” Trump said. “I have a great group of people in Turkey right now and a great group of people in Saudi Arabia. We will know very soon. ”
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
On the day of his disappearance, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while he was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
A joint Turkish-Saudi team completed an investigation into the case on Thursday after searching the residence of the Saudi consul general as well as the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
On Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he will make a statement on Khashoggi’s killing Tuesday during his party's group meeting at the Turkish parliament.
Addressing a CNN gathering, Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner said Washington remains in the “fact-finding phase “.
“We're obviously getting as many facts as we can from the different places, and then we'll determine which facts are credible, ” he said. “And then after that, the president and the secretary of state will make a determination as to what we deem to be credible and what actions we think we should take. ”
Switching to a Middle East peace plan he has been heading up, Kushner said the U.S. has “made a lot of progress, ” arguing Trump has “done a very good job of not allowing the old ways of thinking to constrain his actions “.