President Donald Trump takes a question from CNN reporter Jim Acosta, right, before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018, for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Palm Beach Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Latest: Sen. Rand Paul says Saudi support is a 'mistake'

November 20, 2018 - 4:05 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on U.S. response to the murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):

5 p.m.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul says it's a "mistake" for President Donald Trump to continue supporting arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the death of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Paul tells The Associated Press "it's a sign of weakness not to stand up to Saudi Arabia."

The Kentucky senator has been trying to convince Trump to halt $100 billion in arms sales. Paul says the Trump's position signals that Saudi Arabia can "just behead anybody that protests against the kingdom."

Trump has praised Saudi Arabia as an important ally and said he's not convinced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for Khashoggi's death.

Paul says selling arms is not a "jobs program," and the U.S. should not reward Saudi Arabia's "bad behavior." He says he has the votes in the Senate to block it.

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4 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the CIA never made a determination about who killed Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee). He says intelligence officials never had anything "definitive."

Trump was questioned at the White House about his decision not to further punish Saudi Arabia for the death of the U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post, who had been critical of the kingdom.

He said oil prices would "skyrocket" if the U.S. made a "terrible mistake" to break with Saudi Arabia. Trump said he was not going to "destroy" the world's economy by being "foolish with Saudi Arabia," adding that the United States needs Riyadh as a counterbalance to Iran.

He says he's focused on "putting America first."

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1 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. will not levy additional punitive measures at this time against Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee).

Trump said in a statement Tuesday that the U.S. does not condone the killing of the U.S-based Saudi columnist, but that "foolishly" canceling $110 billion in arms sales — as some in Congress have suggested — would only mean that Saudi Arabia would go to other countries to acquire them.

Trump says the king and crown prince of Saudi Arabia "vigorously deny" any knowledge of the planning and execution of the Oct. 2 murder of The Washington Post columnist at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

He says "it could well be that the crown prince had knowledge."

Trump says "maybe he did and maybe he didn't."

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12:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is facing pressure to take tougher measures against Saudi Arabia over the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee).

The president has resisted calls so far for a stronger response to the Oct. 2 killing of the U.S.-based writer by agents of the Saudi government inside their consulate in Istanbul.

Trump says that Saudi Arabia is a "spectacular ally" and that he's not convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly responsible for Khashoggi's death.

The administration has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis accused of participating in the killing. But lawmakers in Congress want tougher measures. European allies are stepping up their punitive measures against the kingdom, too.

It's unclear if the president will decide on a response before he leaves Tuesday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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