Several high-ranking U.S. officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo plus a bipartisan group of senators and House members, have expressed alarm over the disappearance of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last week. Khashoggi disappeared Oct. 2 during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and Turkish authorities say they believe Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered or abducted the journalist, who's been critical of the Saudi government and powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudis deny this.
On Tuesday night, Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, implored President Trump in an op-ed in The Washington Post, Khashoggi's employer, to "help shed some light on Jamal's disappearance." But Trump said he's in the dark like everyone else. "I know nothing, I know what everybody else knows," the president said Tuesday. He said he hasn't spoken to the Saudis about the disappearance yet, but he will "at some point." On Monday, Trump said he doesn't "like hearing about it, and hopefully that will sort itself out." Trump's "almost blasé tenor has concerned press advocates," who warn that his seeming disinterest in the case will be seen by the Saudis as a green light to continue targeting journalists and dissidents, Politico reports.
Turkish officials are taking the lead on investigating Khashoggi's disappearance, and while they haven't been able to find security camera footage of him leaving the building and the Saudis have not provided any proof he ever did, Turkish police do have footage of a Mercedes Vito van with tinted windows that entered and left the Saudi consulate hours after Khashoggi entered. The footage of the van has led investigators to "examine the possibility that — alive or dead — the journalist was spirited away," The Wall Street Journal reports, citing two Turkish officials briefed on the probe. "Before Khashoggi's disappearance," the Post reports, "U.S. intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him."