US, Saudi Arabia agree on 'thorough' investigation of journalist's disappearance

US, Saudi Arabia agree on 'thorough' investigation of journalist's disappearance

But the global revulsion at the reported assassination and mutilation of a single newspaper columnist - Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post - has already sullied that image far more than previous missteps by Mohammed bin Salman, from miring his country in a catastrophic war in Yemen to kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon. "It sounded like he, and also the Crown Prince, had no knowledge".

According to two of the individuals, the Saudis are putting together an explanation that would absolve the crown prince of responsibility by giving him plausible deniability to say he didn't order the killing and didn't know about it. They put the president at odds with other key allies and with some leaders in his Republican Party who have condemned the Saudi leadership for what they say is an obvious role in the case.

It's not clear whether these elements will be included in the report ordered by the Saudi authorities into the affair.

Overnight, Turkish police completed a search of the consulate after being allowed in by Saudi authorities. The Turkish official would not comment on the disposal method for the body.

Pompeo was on a brief visit to Turkey after having met with the Saudi king, crown prince and foreign minister in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Turkish officials reportedly hope on Wednesday to enter the Saudi consul's residence as part of their probe into the journalist's disappearance.

Up until this point, Saudi officials have strongly denied accusations that Khashoggi was murdered, saying instead he left the diplomatic outpost on his own.

Turkey has expressed concerns that Khashoggi could have been murdered inside the building, while the Saudi government has denied involvement in the case, claiming that the journalist disappeared after he left the consulate. The evidence, which was described to the source by a Western intelligence agency, showed there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate. Turkish officials fear Saudi officials killed and dismembered the writer inside the mission. Leaked surveillance footage show diplomatic cars traveled to the consul's home shortly after Khashoggi's disappearance at the consulate on October 2.

One of the passport scans appears to belong to Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi, listed as the head of forensic medicine at the Saudi Ministry of Interior.

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In the middle of a Tuesday night dinner with Pompeo, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan spoke by phone with President Trump, who promptly tweeted that the heir to the throne had denied any culpability.

Trump earlier threatened "severe punishment" if it is proven that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate.

Pompeo reached Saudi Arabia for urgent talks with King Salman seeking answers about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Earlier on Monday, investigators entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The decision to widen the search to the consul's residence was announced to reporters by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who added that he had received no "confession" from the Saudis.

Mr Pompeo is expected in Turkey later.

Jamal Khashoggi was critical of Saudi Arabia's crackdowns on press and critics. "We need to know what has happened, and those responsible need to be held to account", Freeland said.

Pompeo "also thanked the King for his commitment to supporting a thorough, transparent, and timely investigation of Khashoggi's disappearance", the statement read.

A suspect identified by Turkey in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The New York Times reported Tuesday, October 16.

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