President Trump said Thursday the U.S. is being “very tough” as it looks into a Saudi writer missing and feared murdered in Istanbul, adding “we have investigators over there and we’re working with Turkey” and with Saudi Arabia, the Associated Press reports. Trump spoke on “Fox & Friends” about Jamal Khashoggi, 59, who disappeared a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey. The wealthy former government insider wrote columns for the Washington Post, including some critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He’d been living in the U.S. in self-imposed exile. Turkish officials fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Khashoggi but offered no evidence. Saudi royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert were part of a 15-member team from the kingdom that targeted Khashoggi, Turkish media reported.
“We want to find out what happened,” Trump said. “He went in, and it doesn’t look like he came out. It certainly doesn’t look like he’s around.” Asked about a Washington Post report that U.S. intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi, Trump said, “It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future.” The Post said Prince Mohammed ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia to Saudi Arabia and then detain him. Saudi Arabia has called the allegation it abducted or harmed Khashoggi “baseless.” It has offered no evidence to support its claim the writer simply walked out of its consulate and vanished despite his fiancée waiting outside for him. Decades of close U.S.-Saudi relations, which have intensified under Trump, appeared in jeopardy by the suggestion of a carefully plotted murder of a government critic.