Trump Criticizes Condemnation of Saudi Arabia in Journalist's Disappearance

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

Khashoggi wasn't interrogated, the sources said - instead he was beaten up, drugged and killed in the office of the Saudi consul general Mohammad al-Otaibi.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held separate meetings with Turkey's president and foreign minister for around 40 minutes each on Wednesday in the Turkish capital, Ankara.

NBC News reported that the Saudis are discussing issuing an explanation that would admit that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate while giving bin Salman so-called plausible deniability by saying he neither ordered the murder nor knew about it.

The Iranian press has been reprinting the gruesome claims from Turkish and other worldwide sources that Khashoggi was tortured and dismembered inside the consulate, and on Wednesday alleged a cover-up by Riyadh and Washington.

Trump has threatened "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, although he has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars with Saudi Arabia. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the worldwide reputation of the Saudi crown prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

Prominent US newspapers have reported, citing anonymous sources, that Saudi officials may soon acknowledge Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate but blame it on a botched intelligence operation.

President Donald Trump on Monday talked to the Saudi King, during which the latter flatly denied having any knowledge of the missing journalist.

Khashoggi, a United States resident, Washington Post columnist and leading critic of the powerful Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago to get marriage documents.

How is it going for Saudi Arabia now?

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The Saudi government, it said, would shield the prince by blaming an intelligence official for the bungled operation. The head of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, is one of the latest high-profile executives to pull out.

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The high-level Turkish official told the AP that police found "certain evidence" of Khashoggi's slaying at the consulate, without elaborating. He offered his assessment after talks with the Saudi leadership and said the Crown Prince denied any knowledge of what happened to Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"The Saudi government can no longer remain silent, and it is essential that our own government and others push harder for the truth", Ryan added.

"The investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over", Mr Erdogan said. The secretary of state described the visit as "highly successful" and said the Saudis had promised to carry out a "thorough, complete and transparent investigation".

Police plan to search the Saudi consul general's home, as well as some of the country's diplomatic vehicles, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. "We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned", he told the Associated Press. Al-Otaibi left Turkey on Tuesday afternoon, Turkish state media reported.

Three other suspects are linked to his security detail and a fifth is a high-level forensic doctor, the Times said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Trump said that "I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia" - but in fact he has boasted in the past that "I make a lot of money with them".

"Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent", he said.

"I hope you are comfortable here", the king told Pompeo, according to the reporters.

Flight records, obtained by ABC News show two private planes from Saudi Arabia, arriving in Istanbul and departing the same day.

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