'Rogue Killers' May Have Murdered Saudi Journalist, Trump Suggests

Charlene Craig
October 20, 2018

US President Donald Trump on Monday said that "rogue killers" could be responsible for the disappearance and alleged death of a Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

A joint Saudi-Turkish team has entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to search it, almost two weeks after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The case has provoked an global outcry, with Trump threatening "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and European allies urging "a credible investigation" and accountability for those responsible.

US President Donald Trump earlier spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman on the phone, later telling reporters that he gave a "flat denial" on the killing of the journalist.

"If more information comes out over the next week, I will obviously take that into account", he said.

Khashoggi murder investigators spend nine hours at consulate
Pompeo met on Tuesday with King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud in the Saudi capital and financial hub of Riyadh . Pompeo's arrival came hours after a Turkish forensics team finished a search inside the consulate.

"Trump's intense bromance with MBS is bad news because when you set no boundaries on an oppressive regime, they are always going to ask themselves, 'How much can we get away with here?'" Oliver said.

Trump said "nobody knows yet" what happened inside the consulate, "but we'll probably be able to find out" if Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder.

But a Turkish diplomatic source said it was expected that the search, a joint operation with Saudi authorities, would "take place towards the evening" Monday.

The kingdom has called the allegations "baseless" but has offered no evidence the writer left the consulate.

Turkish forensics arrive to the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 15, 2018 to search the premises in the investigation over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. American lawmakers have threatened tough punitive action against the Saudis, and Germany, France and Britain have jointly called for a "credible investigation" into Khashoggi's disappearance. I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!'

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Khashoggi's fate has troubled Washington and Saudi Arabia's other traditional Western allies.

Following days of mounting tensions, Saudi officials were allowing Turkish investigators to enter the consulate on Monday.

A Turkish prosecutor left around one and a half hours later, followed shortly after by a Saudi team that departed in three vehicles, another witness said.

The White House previously brushed aside threats by Saudi Arabia that it may economically retaliate for any US punitive action imposed over the suspected murder of Khashoggi, pledging a "swift, open, transparent investigation" into his disappearance.

Mnuchin has repeatedly been called on to say whether he'd still attend the summit, which is part of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's efforts to modernize the country's economy and wean it off its dependence on oil.

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He is even due to attend the Future Investment Initiative conference in Saudi Arabia's capital Riyadh next week, alongside leading bankers and investors based around the globe. The probe is separate from a joint investigation being undertaken with Turkish officials.

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