WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump has said the US will get to the bottom of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi case and asserted he would not like to scrap an arms deal with Riyadh, amid a global outrage over the dissident scribe's death.
Saudi Arabia in a statement Saturday said Khashoggi (60) died following a "fistfight" at its consulate in Istanbul on October 2, without disclosing any details on the whereabouts of his body.
"It is something that we don't like. It's very serious stuff. And we're going to get to the bottom of it and will make that determination," Trump told reporters in Nevada on Saturday.
His comment came when asked about his previous statement that he would be considering severe consequences for Saudi Arabia following the journalist's death.
Trump also said the Congress would have a role to play in it.
"We'll have very much Congress involved in determining what to do," he said.
Responding to a question, the US president indicated that he would let the Congressmen take lead on the issue of particularly determining the action that needs to be taken against Saudi Arabia.
However, he insisted that he would not like to scrap the mega arms and investment deal, worth USD 450 billion, with Saudi Arabia as this would impact over 6,00,000 jobs in the US.
The president said he is also speaking with states where jobs could be impacted.
Trump said "sanctions" is one of the things that he would consider.
"Could be. Could be. We're going to find out. We're going to find out who know what, where and we'll figure it out," he said, indicating that things might be clearer by Monday.
"I might know a lot by Monday. I know a lot already. We're going to know over the next two or three days, we're going to know a lot. We're getting a lot of information in as we speak," he said.
Describing Saudi Arabia as a "great ally", he said it has also been a tremendous investor in the US "They invested, and the jobs are . We're right now the largest supplier of energy in the world. We are, the United States. And it happened, and I hate to tell you, over the last 18 months and we're now the biggest in the world, Trump said.
"But still they're a major, major supplier. They're actually number two, and we have to take all of these things into account. Very important," he said.
The president said, "Saudi Arabia has been a great ally of ours. That's why this is so sad. Look at what goes on in Iran and the viciousness of that regime, and it's brutal. It's a brutal regime."
"The killing, the horror stories, you hear them and you write about them, very well, I've seen you write about them very well. It's a tough part of the world, there's no question about it," Trump said.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has said 18 persons have been arrested and an in-depth investigation into the case is being conducted.
"Preliminary investigations revealed that the discussions that took place between him and the persons who met him at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul led to a brawl and a fist fight with the citizen, Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his death, may his soul rest in peace," Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in the statement.
However, Top American lawmakers have said the Saudi statement was not credible and demanded action against the arab nation.