Trump Blames "Rogue Killers" for Saudi Journalist’s Death :: Politics :: Features :: Jamal Khashoggi

Reports in the United States 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. The other source said the report would likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and that those involved will be held responsible, the cable news outlet said.

Turkish officials said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, allegations the Saudi kingdom has dismissed the claims as "baseless", however it has not presented evidence of the journalist leaving the consulate.

Mr Pompeo was hastily dispatched to Riyadh amid signs that the current Saudi position - a flat denial that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside their consulate in Istanbul - might be about to change. He added that he was sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with the Saudi king.

Trump floated his idea shortly after speaking by phone with Saudi Arabia's King Salman earlier in the day, and he indicated that the king may have hinted at rogue killers.

A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the building - the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.

Turkish officials say they have audio evidence the outspoken critic of the Saudi leadership was murdered.

"Larry Kudlow, Mr Trump's economic adviser, said the United States would take "stern action" if necessary" and brushed off Riyadh's threats to drive up oil prices. "He has got instructions to find out what happened", Trump said.

If the Saudis do offer this sequence of events, they will need to account for why they have claimed, for the past two weeks, that Khashoggi walked out of the consulate.

Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi wrote for The Washington Post, and he was one of the loudest voices in America against the brutal Saudi Arabian regime.

The Saudis "have to be aware that if they move forward with the conference, the story will be 'nobody showed up, '" the source said.

The presidents comments opened a window for Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to stand by their denials of involvement in Khashoggis disappearance. It's not clear who the Saudi ruling family elected to be thrown under the bus to take responsibility for the call to kill Khashoggi.

The furor over Khashoggi has dealt a serious setback to Prince Mohammed's aggressive pitch for the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.

"It's being investigated, it's being looked at very, very strongly", Trump said, after CBS's Lesley Stahl asked whether the Saudis had murdered Khashoggi.

King Salman called Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the weekend to discuss the case. "And it sounds like he and also the crown prince had no knowledge", he said, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. When it comes to Saudi Arabia these days, things could not get weirder or uglier.

  • Rogelio Becker