Trump says he's spoken with Saudis at 'highest level' over Khashoggi

Turkish officials say they fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Khashoggi, without offering evidence explaining why they believe that. "We want to see what's going on". "If they have the ability and also the audacity to go into another country and kill a journalist, these aren't the kind of people maybe that we want to be selling arms to". His Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside, said he never re-appeared.

"Well, we're looking at it very, very seriously". She said the writer first visited the consulate on September 28 "despite being somewhat concerned that he could be in danger". "That's a bad situation. We can't let it happen".

Meanwhile, Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin told state-run news agency Anadolu that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have agreed to form a joint working group to look into what happened.

The Magnitsky Law requires the president to act on requests for investigations by the leaders of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr Erdogan has not accused Saudi Arabia of being responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance but has said that if the Saudis have footage of him leaving the consulate they should release it.

"Frankly I think that would be a very very tough pill to swallow for our country".

"I have to find out what happened", Trump said. When asked if he would consider blocking US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Trump said that would hurt the United States, citing such deals as a big part of a booming USA economy.

The White House also revealed in a statement by Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders that two senior officials, the national security advisor and Trump's son-in-law, have contacted the Saudis on the matter.

Critics have accused the White House of being slow to react to Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance and hesitant to criticize the Saudi government, a close partner of the Trump administration.

"If these allegations are true, there will be serious consequences because our friendships and our partnerships are based on shared values", Jeremy Hunt told AFP.

"I would say they're excellent", said Trump before going on a tangent.

"The recent disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally recognised human rights", the letter stated.

"It is like 'Pulp Fiction, '" the official said.

The letter urges action, including sanctions, against anyone found to be involved in the case, including "with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia".

The Washington Post cited several of Khashoggi's friends as saying that the prominent journalist had over the past months had been asked by senior Saudi officials close to return back home from the USA, offering him "protection" and "even a high-level job".

On Wednesday, State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said the United States "had no advance knowledge" of such a plan.

Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler ordered an operation targeting journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing for more than a week, The Washington Post reported Wednesday citing United States intelligence intercepts.

Bob Corker, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed US intelligence on the case, said it was likely that Khashoggi was killed the day he walked into the consulate.

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

"If a bird flew, or a fly or a mosquito appeared, the systems would capture this; they [Saudi Arabia] have the most cutting-edge systems", Hurriyet quoted him as saying.

Self-exiled Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi said earlier this year that the Saudi government has been moving toward nationalist radicalism.

The Saudi government maintains that they had nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance, and that the journalist left the consulate soon after he got there.

The first plane of nine Saudis arrived from Riyadh around 3:30 a.m. that day, and included an individual described as a forensics official, according to the Sabah newspaper.

  • Eleanor Harrison