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Trump issues harsh statement about Khashoggi murder - and takes action against accused killers

President Donald Trump appeared to criticize the Saudis for the first time on Tuesday over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. (Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump criticized the "cover-up" of the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a statement to a reporter Tuesday, and the State Department said the U.S. would take action against Saudi Arabia.

'The worst cover-up ever'

"They had a very bad original concept," the president responded. "It was carried out poorly. And the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups."

"Very simple," he added.

"Bad deal. Should have never been thought of," he explained. "Somebody really messed up. And they had the worst cover up ever."

"And where it should have stopped is at the idea standpoint, when they thought about it," he continued, "cuz whoever thought of that idea... I think is in big trouble."

"And they should be in big trouble," he concluded. "OK?"

The president didn't directly put the blame on the regime in Saudi Arabia, but it was his first comment on the journalist's assassination and appeared to criticize the Saudis.

Trump called it a "bad situation" but praised the Saudis for investing in the U.S. and creating "thousands" of jobs. He added that he would soon know "everything" that happened with Khashoggi.

'The United States does not tolerate this ruthless action'

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there will be measures taken against the Saudis that are accused for the murder of Khashoggi, including the revocation of travel visas.

"We're making very clear that the United States does not tolerate this ruthless action to silence Mr. Khashoggi, a journalist, through violence," Pompeo said in a statement Tuesday.

"Neither the president nor I are happy with this situation," he added, saying that these are not the only measures that will be taken against the Saudis.

Here are the comments from the president Tuesday:

Khashoggi disappeared after he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate on Oct. 2 in Turkey to obtain documents in order to marry his fiancée. The Turkish government began accusing the Saudis of murdering the reporter, and after much public pressure, admitted that they were involved.

There are reports that Khashoggi was tortured and cut into pieces in order for his killers to dispose of his body, which has not been recovered.

One last thing…
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