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Sunday August 25th, 2019 2:08PM

The Latest: Trump reluctant to slash weapons sales to Saudis

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):

12:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he's reluctant to slash weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, saying that if the U.S. doesn't sell arms to the kingdom, then the Saudis will buy them from Russia or China.

Trump visited Saudi Arabia on his first international trip as president and announced $110 billion in proposed arms sales to the country. Some U.S. lawmakers want the U.S. to stop the military sales because of Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in the case of a missing Saudi writer who vanished after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Turkish officials allege that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate.

___

12 p.m.

Some senators are questioning American support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen as anger intensifies with the kingdom over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He's gone missing after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Sen. Chris Murphy is calling for at least a temporary halt in U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen.

The Connecticut Democrat says that if Saudi Arabia isn't telling the truth about Khashoggi, then "why would we believe them that they are not intentionally hitting civilians inside Yemen?"

In addition, three Republican and four Democratic senators have written Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raising concerns over last month's certification that the Saudi-led coalition was taking actions to protect civilians.

___

8:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the United States is being "very tough" as it tries to find out what's happened to a Saudi writer who's been missing for a week after he went into a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

There are fears that Jamal Khashoggi, who's contributed columns to The Washington Post, has been murdered.

Trump says in a television interview that "we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia."

The president tells "Fox & Friends" that Khashoggi "went in and it doesn't look like he came out" from the consulate.

Trump isn't providing any details on an investigation.

He was asked about a Post report that U.S. intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi. Trump says: "It would be a very sad thing and we will probably know in the very short future."

Trump describes U.S.-Saudi relations as "excellent." When he was asked whether the writer's disappearance could put those ties in jeopardy, Trump said: "I have to find out what happened."

___

1:55 a.m.

President Donald Trump says the U.S. is looking into the fate of a Saudi writer missing and feared murdered. But Trump is expressing reservations over calls to withhold further U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He says such a move "would be hurting us."

There's been a long history of close U.S.-Saudi relations, and those have intensified under Trump. But they appear in jeopardy by the suggestion of a carefully plotted murder of a Saudi government critic, Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi disappeared a week ago after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Trump, in an interview with "Fox News @ Night," links the positive U.S. economy in part to American-made defense systems that he says everyone wants. He says that stepping back from arms sales to the Saudis "a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country."

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