He said the country's crown prince 'could very well' have information on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Donald Trump insists the US intends to remain a "steadfast partner" of Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The US President's released a statement saying "it could very well be" that the country's crown prince had knowledge about the killing.

But he says it would be foolish to cancel military contracts with the Gulf state, because Russia and China would be "enormous beneficiaries".

Under the heading of "America First!", the statement says: "After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest (US)$450 billion in the United States.

"This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States."

"If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries - and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!"

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

On the murder of Mr Khashoggi, Mr Trump says: "The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone.

"Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder.

"After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body."

"King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr Khashoggi.

"Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"