The global response to missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is much like Americans' response to sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, according to President Donald Trump.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday, Trump expressed concern over what he perceives as a rush to judgment:
> “I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”
After speaking with both Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman this week, Trump has stressed that both denied having any knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate.
The president has also pointed to the pending arms deal with Saudi Arabia as reason to proceed cautiously, while simultaneously promising “severe punishment” should foul play come to light.
Trump told the AP he hopes the Saudi investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance will be wrapped up in “less than a week.”
> In the meantime, international leaders and business executives are severing or rethinking ties to the Saudi government after Khashoggi’s high-profile disappearance.
> [Trump] said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries’ actions. “I have to find out what happened,” he said. But his complaint about “guilty until proven innocent” and comparison to the Kavanaugh situation suggested he was giving the Saudis more leeway than other U.S. allies.