Transcript for Trump: Saudi crown prince 'denied' knowledge in Khashoggi case
Ian, thank you. And the disappearance isn't just a diplomatic crisis for the U.S., it puts president trump in a delicate position. Today, the president denied having any financial interests in Saudi Arabia. But ABC's Jon Karl with what the president has said before, and the potential money at stake here. Reporter: President trump has warned of severe punishment for Saudi Arabia if it murdered Jamal khashoggi, butoday he added this. It depends whether or not the king or the crown prince knew about it, in my opinion. Number one, what happened? But whether or not they knew about it. If they knew about it, that would be bad. Reporter: Later today, he tweeted, quote, just spoke with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish consulate. In the days since khashoggi's disappearance, the president has tried to walk a fine line between vowing punishment and preserving the u.s./saudi relationship. A relationship he has worked hard to cultivate, making Saudi Arabia the very first foreign country he visited as president, taking part in a traditional sword dance with the king. Today, the president also tweeted, quote, for the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia. But just three years ago, he said this -- Saudi Arabia, and I get along great with all of them, they buy apartments from me, they spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much. Reporter: Over the years, the Saudis have invested in several major trump projects. In 1991, they bought his yacht. Four years later, a Saudi prince was part of a group that bought trump's plaza hotel. In 2001, the kingdom of Saudi Arabia reportedly bought an entire floor of trump world tower in New York. And since he was elected, the Saudis have spent lavishly at trump properties, including dropping nearly $270,000 last year at the president's Washington hotel near the white house. So, let's get to Jon Karl with us live tonight from the white house. And Jon, the president says the Saudi crown prince, quote, totally denied knowing anything about what happened in the consulate. Is the president going to take his word for it? Reporter: Well, he sure seems inclined to believe those denials. As he told the associated press in that interview he did just a short while ago, "Here we go again, you know, you're guilty until proven nebt. I don't like that." And then, David, he actually went on to compare the situation with the Saudis and the accusations against his supreme court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, saying, quote, we just went through that with justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way, as far as I am concerned. So, yes, the president seems very much inclined to believe the Saudi denials in this case.
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