Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist and Washington Post columnist who was critical of his country’s government, vanished two weeks ago in a saga that has gotten more mysterious by the day. The 59-year-old was last seen on October 2 walking into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
What actually happened to him is still unknown, but the Wall Street Journal reported that, per Turkish sources and an audio recording, Khashoggi was drugged and murdered in the consulate in the presence of a top Saudi official. The New York Times also reported on other details from that recording.
It seems all but certain at this point that the Saudi government was involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, and the incident is complicating the decades-long US-Saudi relationship, as well as the close relationship between White House adviser Jared Kushner and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
President Trump has so far been hesitant to cast blame on the Saudi government, even after reports that the kingdom was going to claim it killed Khashoggi accidentally. But in recent days, he’s signaled a possible shift in that stance, telling reporters it “certainly looks” like the journalist is dead and vowing severe consequences if Saudi royals are found to have been responsible.