Pressure builds as Saudi explanation for Khashoggi death is questioned

Jamal Khashoggi
Saudi crown prince's ousted aides | News , Middle East

23 October, 2018

He also urged Turkey to turn over purported audio recordings of Khashoggi's killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump said he considers the Saudi statement credible, though "it's early". "Everybody can say what they wish, but it's just not a credible story for someone to walk in with 15 other people and get into a fistfight and lose their life".

And while he described the crown prince's vision for the future as "impressive", Corker contrasted it with drastic moves in recent memory to jail high profile Saudis in the Riyadh Ritz Carlton, a flareup with Lebanon and the crown prince's "rookie mistake" in handling a blockade of Qatar.

"Do I think he did it?" My guess is at the end of the day, the US and the rest of the world will believe fully that he did it.

Trump initially said he believed the Saudi account, but on Saturday he said he still does not know where Khashoggi's body is.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and several global business leaders, have pulled out of a major investment forum in Saudi Arabia scheduled to begin next week called the Future Investment Initiative. Forensic expert Salah Tubaigy tried to remove any trace of the incident, the official said. "The Saudis have said a lot of crap that's not right, accurate or true - we know that".

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South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham went even further, totally undermining the Saudi crisis management. Beyond its statements attributed to anonymous officials, Saudi Arabia offered no evidence to support its claims of what happened to Khashoggi.

In a statement on Friday night, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the USA will closely follow worldwide investigations into Khashoggi's death and will advocate for justice that is "timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process". "I note that the Saudi authorities have changed tack, admitted the facts and accepted some responsibility, so we are making progress", he added.

Turkish officials said Saturday they expected to find the body soon.

He said it was premature to discuss sanctions, in line with Trump administration efforts to censure a killing that has drawn worldwide outrage while also protecting relations with the Saudis.

A bipartisan group of U.S. politicians has accused the Crown Prince of directing the operation, with Republican Senator Rand Paul telling Fox News that the USA "cannot continue to have relations with him and so I think he's going to have to be replaced".

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