Trump offers ‘rogue killers’ theory, sends Pompeo to Saudi Arabia

Clay Curtis
October 19, 2018

The kingdom has so far publicly denied involvement in his disappearance.

Saudi Arabia faces widespread global criticism, amid expectations of imposing sanctions on it, following the crisis of Khashoggi's disappearance after entering his country's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on 2 October, without being seen by anyone after that. Saudi Arabia has denied that.

Cengiz, who spent hours waiting for Khashoggi outside while holding his mobile phones, says her fiancee never returned to meet her. Trump said he didn't "want to get into (Salman's) mind", but he added, "it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers".

Trump has oscillated between threatening "severe punishment" against the Saudi regime to downplaying the importance of Khashoggi's fate.

Reports in the U.S. media suggest that Saudi officials are set to admit that Mr Khashoggi was killed during an interrogation that went wrong, but neither King Salman, or his son and power behind the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed, had ordered Mr Khashoggi's death.

He said he didn't think any government officials should go to Saudi Arabia, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin's planned trip to an economic conference October 23, "until we know exactly what happened here".

One source cautioned that the report was still being prepared and could change, CNN said on Monday.

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How far Ankara goes in escalating the crisis over Khashoggi may ultimately depend on the extent of worldwide backing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives. And that "it was in the hands of his son, the Crown Prince [Mohammad bin Salman]". "Our family is traumatized, and yearns to be together during this painful time".

However, the White House brushed aside the Saudi threats, pledging a "swift, open, transparent investigation" into the journalist's disappearance.

Also on Monday, investigators entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The two leaders agreed on a joint working group to investigate the case. Turkish officials said a joint probe was to be conducted by both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but the makeup of the team was not immediately clear.

The renowned journalist has not been seen since entering the building nearly two weeks ago. However, it remained unclear what evidence, if any, would remain after almost two weeks since Khashoggi's disappearance. Earlier on Monday, CNN reporters saw a cleaning crew entering the consulate.

Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Mr Khashoggi, who wrote columns in the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. At least some of them appear to have high-level connections in the Saudi government. The official said one of the men had brought along a bone saw for dismembering the body.

Shortly after the cleaning crew entered the Saudi consulate, a team of investigators arrived in an unmarked police vehicle to begin an inspection of the building a full 13 days after Khashoggi entered to obtain marriage documents and never reemerged.

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