The United States has sent investigators to Turkey to assist in the probe of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared in Istanbul last week, President Donald Trump said in an interview on Thursday.
"We can't let it happen. And we're being very tough and we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia," Trump said in an interview with "Fox and Friends."
Khashoggi was last seen on Oct. 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his forthcoming marriage. His fiancée, waiting outside, said he never emerged and Turkish sources said they believe Khashoggi was killed in the building.
"I have to find out what happened," Trump said, when asked if US-Saudi relations would be jeopardized by the disappearance of Khashoggi.
He appeared reluctant to consider blocking arms sales, citing economic reasons.
"I think that would be hurting us," Trump said. "We have jobs, we have a lot of things happening in this country. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before."
He continued: "Part of that is what we're doing with our defense systems and everybody's wanting them. And frankly, I think that that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country. I mean, you're affecting us and, you know, they're always quick to jump that way."
On his first international trip as president, Trump visited Saudi Arabia and announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales.
The 59-year-old Khashoggi, a former newspaper editor in Saudi Arabia, left the country last year. He advised Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi intelligence chief, and has also been close to billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.
In his columns in the Washington Post, Khashoggi had been escalating his criticism of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.