Trump Criticizes Condemnation of Saudi Arabia in Journalist's Disappearance

Trump Criticizes Condemnation of Saudi Arabia in Journalist's Disappearance

"He had [Mr Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it - I feel used and abused", he said.

Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have both denied any knowledge about what might have happened to Khashoggi. Following Trump's comments about the possibility that "rogue killers" might have been involved, several USA media outlets reported that a Saudi probe was expected to paint Khashoggi's death as a result of a botched rendition and interrogation.

But the Saudis have faced intense criticism over the Khashoggi incident, which comes just after USA senators almost succeeded in cutting off support for Riyadh's air campaign against rebels in Yemen, which a United Nations report says has killed thousands of civilians. Chris Murphy of CT, who has access to U.S. intelligence reports, tweeted he had already heard the Saudis would try to deny fault by blaming "rogue killers".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia to talk to King Salman and the 33-year-old crown prince about the fate of the journalist who wrote critically about the Saudis for the Washington Post.

Pompeo went straight into talks with Erdogan upon arrival.

However, the New York Times reports that four of the 15 people named by the Turkish authorities as suspects in Mr Khashoggi's disappearance have links to the crown prince, while another is a senior figure in the country's Interior Ministry.

Khashoggi had penned articles critical of the country's rulers. "They made a commitment to do that", he told reporters travelling with him after boarding the plane for Ankara.

But hours before the Turkish forensic team arrived, journalists photographed a cleaning crew entering the consulate, hauling buckets, mops and what appeared to be bottles of cleaning solution. "They indicated they understood that getting that done in a timely, rapid fashion so they could begin to answer important questions".

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

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The top United States diplomat also said the Saudi leadership "strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul". "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.

The G7 foreign ministers said in a statement on Wednesday that they remained "very troubled" by Khashoggi's disappearance. "I don't like that". The Trump administration's ongoing courtship of Saudi Arabia is on pause.

But there has been mounting criticism of some of the prince's moves, including Riyadh's involvement in the Yemen war, the arrest of women activists, and a diplomatic row with Canada.

While the search was being carried out on Tuesday, CNN and the New York Times reported that Saudi Arabia was preparing to acknowledge Khashoggi's death in a botched interrogation.

"This guy's gotta go", he said on Tuesday morning on Fox News, describing Prince Mohammed as a "wrecking ball".

The daily said in another recording, someone tells Otaibi: "If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet".

Since Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance, powerful USA executives have withdrawn from a high-profile investment conference in Riyadh this month.

The Saudi event is unrelated to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

How is it going for Saudi Arabia now?

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