Pompeo briefs Trump after trip to Saudi Arabia, Turkey

Pompeo briefs Trump after trip to Saudi Arabia, Turkey

President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in the suspected murder of a critical journalist and said that he expects to learn the truth about Jamal Khashoggi's fate within days.

He rejected suggestions he was trying to provide cover for Saudi Arabia: "No, not at all, I just want to find out what's happening".

Mr. Trump and Pompeo have been reluctant to criticize Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Trump has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the Saudi relationship for the USA economy.

However, they have not presented any evidence to corroborate their claim and say that video cameras at the consulate were not recording at the time.

Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Mideast, is under pressure to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor living in the USA who had been critical of the crown prince.

France's finance minister Bruno Le Maire is the latest in a long line of politicians and global business leaders to pull out of an investment conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next week amid a worldwide diplomatic dispute over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and the government, was visiting the embassy to fill out for paperwork for his impending marriage.

President Trump met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the White House Thursday, after Pompeo returned Wednesday night from a whirlwind trip to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

At one point he suggested "rogue killers" could be to blame for Khashoggi's disappearance.

Earlier Wednesday, he told Fox Business that the U.S. relies on the kingdom to fight terrorism. "The behavior is so morally repellent, so totally and universally, except perhaps in Saudi government, unacceptable that he has to do something", said Napolitano, adding that the administration has many factors to weigh with regard to the relations with the Saudis. "They (Saudis) didn't want to either".

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Earlier in the day, a Saudi delegation had also arrived at the building to take part in what is presented as a joint search with their Turkish counterparts.

Turkish police had on Monday searched the consulate building itself for over eight hours, taking away soil and DNA samples for further examination. Turkish officials say they believe he was killed there and that his death was recorded.

Now several news outlets - in Turkey and the U.S. - have reported the existence of audio tapes which they say prove this.

A Turkish source who listened to the audio recording told MEE that Khashoggi's murder lasted approximately seven minutes. Now I have to accept: "That is not going to happen".

"We approach them as though they're honest people dealing with us wanting to improve the lives of the people in the country they come from", he said.

According to a New York Times report, the money landed in American accounts on Tuesday and was for purported American efforts to stabilize areas in Syria liberated from the clutches of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. Three other suspects are linked to his security detail and a fifth is a high-level forensic doctor, The Times said.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he will decide Thursday whether or not he will attend the conference.

"Your recent statements, and public reports of increased spending by the Saudi government at Trump properties, raise significant concerns about financial conflicts of interest", the lawmakers wrote.

Former International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell demanded Mr Fox make it clear that he will not attend the meeting in Riyadh if the Saudi regime has been complicit in "quite extraordinary events that have breached international humanitarian law".

He visited the consulate last Tuesday to obtain a document confirming he had divorced his ex-wife, in order to allow him to remarry.

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