Donald Trump does not want to hear tape of 'vicious' Khashoggi murder

President Donald Trump told reporters today that he will be briefed on the conclusions by the Central Intelligence Agency on Air Force One with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his way to California to visit areas affected by wildfires. On Saturday, the US State Department's spokesman Heather Nauert refused to back the CIA's alleged findings. "Recent reports indicating that the USA government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate. There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr Khashoggi".

One potential sign of the tension the incident has caused within the USA administration is the resignation on Friday of a top White House official responsible for American policy towards Saudi Arabia. "They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development".

The Saudi government has denied that the son of King Salman was involved.

Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, and Turkey has given the USA government a recording of the murder, but Trump said he would not listen to it "because it's a suffering tape, it's a awful tape".

A total of 21 people, all Saudi citizens, are in custody in connection with Khashoggi's killing, the Saudi prosecutor's office said, without identifying them.

Turkey has said that the killing was carried out by a team of 15 individuals, including a two-man "clean-up team".

Saudi Arabia and its ally the United Arab Emirates intervened in the conflict against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels in 2015 in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

She said the State Department would continue to seek the "relevant facts" and work towards making those involved in the killing accountable.

It was claimed Prince Khalid made the call, on orders of the Crown Prince, to Khashoggi to tell him to travel to the Istanbul consulate to retrieve the documents, telling him it would be safe to visit.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert added that the USA would however pursue justice "while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia". "This brazen killing must have consequences - sanctions, prosecution, removal of MBS & others, not continued cover-up, enabled by Trump", tweeted Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal on Saturday.

The president, who is in a $110 billion arms deal with the monarchy, further said he would not listen to the audio of Khashoggi's killing provided to the CIA by the Turkish intelligence.

American officials have expressed high confidence in the agency's assessment, which is the most definitive to date, allegedly linking Saudi Arabia's crown prince to the killing, according to The Washington Post.

"Well, will anybody really know?"

Khashoggi was brutally murdered and dismembered by a group of assassins at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

"I think a smoking gun would certainly help, if you actually did have that specific thing that is unlikely to be out there or unlikely to be found, where someone gave a specific direction and you know that happened", Blunt said, adding that "it's hard to imagine something like this could happen without the crown prince knowing". An adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused Saudi Arabia of trying to cover up the murder.

In a statement in response to the Post's story, the Saudi ambassador denied the accuracy of the reporting-claiming he never lured Khashoggi anywhere-and said such a "serious accusation should be not be left to anonymous sources".

  • Rogelio Becker