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Trump declares Khashoggi "cover-up" one of the "worst in the history of cover-ups"

Turkey's president on Khashoggi's death
Turkey's president on Khashoggi's death 07:06

President Trump told reporters Tuesday the cover-up of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death executed by the Saudis was "one of the worst in the history of cover-ups." 

Speaking in the Oval Office for a bill signing alongside members of Congress, Mr. Trump told reporters he would leave it to Congress to decide how to handle the situation with the Saudis. But he said the Saudis had a "very bad" idea that "should have never been thought of." 

"They had a very bad original concept," Mr. Trump said. "It was carried out poorly, and the cover-up was one of the worst in the history of cover-ups. Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of."

But the president said he's still waiting on all the facts. CIA Director Gina Haspel, as CBS News has previously reported, visited Turkey earlier this week over the Khashoggi situation, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Pompeo announced Tuesday that the U.S. would be revoking the visas of Saudi operatives who are accused of killing Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I think I'll know everything in a short period of time," the president said Tuesday. "I want to see the facts first."

Mr. Trump has been reluctant about the possibility of ending arms sales with the Saudis, emphasizing the importance of the investment in America's economy. He's claimed America would lose a million jobs without that relationship. 

"We do that, we're just hurting ourselves," the president said of pulling out of the Saudis' order. "It is a terrible thing, but it would really be hurting ourselves."

Sen. Ben Cardin, the Maryland Democratic ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations, who was in Oval Office Tuesday when Mr. Trump made those remarks, said Congress is reviewing all its options for punishing the Saudis, including, but not limited to, sanctions.

"There is a growing group of senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who recognize how serious this is, and it will have consequences in regards to our relationship with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Cardin said. 

"I think Congress is going to demand that there will be appropriate action," Cardin added. 

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