TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – US President Donald Trump defended Saudi Arabia from what he characterized as efforts to condemn Riyadh over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi before all the facts were known, saying it was a case of “guilty until proven innocent.”
Trump Tuesday criticized people blaming Saudi Arabia for the disappearance of the US-based journalist and accused them of prejudging the case.
"Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent. I don't like that," Trump said during an interview with The Associated Press.
The US president likened the global outcry against the Saudi government to the controversy surrounding US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who was implicated in a sexual assault case during his confirmation process.
"We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned," Trump said. "So we have to find out what happened."
The Washington Post columnist was last seen in public when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in Turkey on October 2. Previously, Saudi authorities had maintained Khashoggi left the consulate the same afternoon of his visit, but provided no evidence to support the claim.
CCTV footage shows Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2.
Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate, says she did not see him re-emerge.
On Tuesday, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan said some materials at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul have been painted over.
Speaking after Turkish police entered the consulate for the first time and searched the premises for nine hours, Erdogan also told reporters that they were looking into toxic materials at the mission.
“My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” Erdogan said.