Published: Wed, October 17, 2018
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Trump Criticizes Rush To Condemn Saudi Arabia Over Khashoggi

Trump Criticizes Rush To Condemn Saudi Arabia Over Khashoggi

Asked point blank if Khashoggi, who has not been seen since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, was alive or dead, Pompeo said: "I don't want to talk about any of the facts".

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, has landed in Ankara for crisis talks with the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, over the journalist Jamal Khashoggi as officials leaked gory details of what they claim was his murder in the Saudi consulate.

The New York Times, citing a person familiar with the Saudi plans, reported the crown prince had approved an interrogation or rendition of Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night that Turkish officials claim Khashoggi was beaten, drugged, killed and dismembered in the consulate, in front of Saudi's top diplomat in Istanbul.

Turkish media report that a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" confronted the Washington Post writer at the embassy and his screams could be heard throughout the building. The Turks have said they suspect Saudis dispatched from Riyadh killed the self-exiled Khashoggi and dismembered his body within hours after he arrived at the consulate to get a legal document he needed to remarry.

A second search, cancelled on Tuesday because Saudi officials were not able to join, is expected to happen later on Wednesday.

An audio recording has emerged of the alleged torture and murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Sky sources. "We are grateful to all those who have respected our privacy during these hard times", the statement said.

The US president, Donald Trump, on Tuesday defended Saudi Arabia in the face of mounting allegations that Riyadh was involved in the Saudi journalist's alleged killing.

"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".

Pompeo Arrives In Saudi Arabia To Discuss Khashoggi Disappearance
Turkey may interrogate officials at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul if the need arises, the foreign minister said on Tuesday. Trump said he hoped the Saudis' own investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance would be concluded in "less than a week".

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has suggested parts of the consulate had been repainted since the disappearance of the journalist, who was a critic of the Saudi regime.

The news comes as Turkish police said earlier Tuesday they now have evidence missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and cut into pieces inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish investigative agencies have said that he was brutally killed inside the consulate.

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

President Trump has previously said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the United States economically.

"The king firmly denied any knowledge of it", Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a trip to survey hurricane damage in Florida and in Georgia.

CNN said the Saudis may argue the operation was conducted without clearance and those responsible would be held accountable.

"I heard that [CNN] report, but nobody knows if it's an official report", he said in Georgia.

Trump's attempt to distance himself from profiting from Saudi Arabia is undercut by a long record showing deals his companies made with that country's government and citizens, media reports said. Democratic lawmakers criticized Trump for using the term "rogue killers".

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