'Rogues' may have killed journalist, insists Trump

Saul Bowman
October 19, 2018

President Donald Trump told "60 Minutes" in an interview that aired Sunday that there would be "severe punishment" if the Saudis killed Khashoggi, but he softened his stance Monday morning.

"I just spoke with the King of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge with what took place", Trump said.

"It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers, who knows".

The president added, "We're going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon, but his was a flat denial".

A video of people with mops and buckets, entering the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul hours before investigators of Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance were to go there has prompted concerns and speculations.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is on his way to Saudi Arabia to meet the king on President Trump's orders.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for the Washington Post newspaper, has gone missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be hard, but we believe we will obtain evidence", the Turkish official said.

Saudi Arabia has strongly denied killing Khashoggi and has denounced such assertions as "lies", saying he left the building shortly after entering.

Saudi officials had reportedly resisted allowing Turkish police into the consulate after learning that investigators planned to use Luminol, a forensic chemical that reveals bloodstains even if they have been washed clean. The king also said Turkey and Saudi Arabia enjoy close relations and "that no one will get to undermine the strength of this relationship", according to a statement on state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Saudi Arabia has given Turkey permission to search its Istanbul consulate Monday afternoon, a Turkish diplomatic source told CNN.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill have pushed Trump to make a stronger response. Sen.

Turkish officials also claimed that some of those 15 Saudi men had high-level connections in the Saudi government.

"Per two sources who spoke to CNN, however, the Saudis are preparing a report admitting that they meant to abduct and bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but that he was inadvertently killed in the process".

He will later visit Turkey, where Mr Khashoggi was last seen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago.

But in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance, many media and entertainment companies have been distancing themselves from the kingdom.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be difficult" the Turkish official said.

Saudia Arabia is allegedly lining up a takeover bid for Manchester United as the kingdom faces worldwide scrutiny over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist.

Khashoggi, who writes for the Washington Post's global opinion section, came to be known as a sharp critic of the Saudi Arabian government.

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