Donald Trump calls Khashoggi murder the 'worst cover-up in history'

Donald Trump calls Khashoggi murder the 'worst cover-up in history'

Almost three weeks ago, journalist Jamal Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey - and never returned. The 59-year-old had fallen out of favour with his home nation of Saudi Arabia last year after criticising the policies of the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, and had subsequently exiled himself to the USA. Unfortunately, the distance he put between himself and the Saudi government was not enough to save his life.

Originally, Saudi Arabia had tried to claim that the journalist had left the consulate alive and well, but have since recounted their story and admitted that he died on the premises - though they've yet to be completely honest about how it happened.

Now, President Trump has spoken out to condemn the matter, calling it the worst cover-up "in the history of cover-ups".

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: A man holds a poster of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Speaking to reporters at the White House yesterday, the president said: "They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups.

"Whoever thought of that idea, I think is in big trouble. And they should be in big trouble."

Though it is believed by most authorities that the royal family had a hand in Khashoggi's death, however, Trump seems to be in denial of this fact. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he said that he did not believe King Salman had prior knowledge of the operation, and yesterday he said "I really want to believe [the royal family]" with regards to their denials of any involvement.

US president Donald Trump. Credit: Getty

In response to the initial news that the journalist was missing/feared dead, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US would "punish those responsible" and revoked visas of 21 identified suspects. Now, he has doubled down on this, saying that "These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia continues to remain vague about what actually happened on October 2nd.

First, they changed their story to say that Khashoggi  had been killed in a "fist-fight" inside the consulate, but now they've backtracked again to claim that the journalist was murdered as part of a "rogue operation" that senior officials were not made aware of.

On Sunday, however, an unnamed official spoke to Reuters and informed them that Khashoggi died in a chokehold while resisting attempts to take him back to his home country. His body was then "disposed of" after being rolled in a rug and carried out of the building.

US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) Credit: Getty

Tragically, the journalist was only visiting the consulate in order to obtain proof that he was divorced from his first wife so that he could marry his fiancé. She waited for him for hours outside the consulate, and so was certain that he never came out - despite what reports were saying.

There is clearly a lot more to this case than Saudi officials are letting on, and hopefully Trump will be able to see past his alliances with the nation in order to bring Khashoggi and his family the justice they deserve.