US, Saudi officials meet after writer disappears

CCTV footage shows Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate on October 2

Trump Speaks to Saudi King, Sends Pompeo for Follow-Up

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured before being decapitated inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported yesterday, saying it had heard audio recordings of the incident. It described the 60-year-old Washington Post columnist as being tortured after entering the consulate.

"Here we go again with you know you're guilty until proven innocent", Trump told AP in an interview.

Saudi Arabia is one one of its most important backers, and heralded the project as one that could "enable all 4th-generation technologies to flourish in the Kingdom".

The Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

TRT World correspondent Caitlin McGee has details from outside the Saudi consul general's home in Istanbul.

The response so far has consisted in part of President Trump pushing for more time and noting that Khashoggi, who resided in Virginia, was not a U.S. citizen and underlining the crucial nature of U.S. -Saudi Arabia trade relationship.

Turkey has now asked the United States to share Khashoggi's blood and DNA samples with them, he added. "I just want to find out what's happening".

President Trump wrote: "He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter".

The three posed for photos before their meetings, but said nothing in front of journalists.

And so the question is, do you push that away, or how do you push that away while dealing with what is clearly and plainly a moral decision here, which is to say that if, in fact, somebody was responsible for this murder, which at least in my mind, as a journalist, it very much looks that way, do you cut the country off entirely?

Trump ally Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of SC and one of the kingdom's biggest defenders, angrily rejected the Saudi denials that Trump repeated.

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"We have asked for it, if it exists", the president said.

During Pompeo's visit to Saudi Arabia, the top diplomat and the crown prince smiled for the cameras and emphasised the two countries' mutual interests.

One of the members of the Saudi team is reported to be Salah Muhammed Al-Tubaigy, a lieutenant-colonel in the Saudi forensic department.

He arrived there from Riyadh where, he said, the Saudis "made a commitment that they would show the entire world the results of their investigation".

The fifth suspect is an autopsy expert, Salah al-Tubaigy, who the Times said identified himself on his Twitter account as the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics.

Some believe Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (pictured above) had Khashoggi killed, and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is among a handful of well-known names vowing to punish the Saudis.

The existence of audio evidence that Mr Khashoggi - a critic of Saudi leaders - was murdered was revealed by Turkish investigators early on in their inquiries. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.

In recent months, the crown prince, known by his initials, MBS, ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia, according to US intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan.

Two weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance on October 2, the United States and allies have collected some intelligence through their own sources and methods, which partly confirms news reports based on leaks of audio recordings, four of the sources said.

"It's not clear what the Trump administration will do in the face of continued deflection by the kingdom, but what does seem clear is that the Trump administration must not give the kingdom a pass", said Lisa Monaco, who was a homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President Barack Obama.

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