Trump blasts critics for Saudi Arabia connections

Turkish police leave Saudi consulate after 9-hour search for Khashoggi DNA traces

During the initial consulate search, CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was preparing to acknowledge Khashoggi's death in a botched interrogation, after denying for two weeks any role in his disappearance.

Pompeo told reporters that the United States wants to give the Saudis "space" to come up with their reckonings into what occurred October 2 after Khashoggi entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

Overnight, Turkish crime scene investigators entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the last place Khashoggi was seen before vanishing, for the first time and searched the premises for over nine hours, Reuters witnesses said.

Pompeo was in the air when a Turkish police forensics team wrapped up its hourslong search of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul early Tuesday morning. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

US media reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia would admit that the disappearance and alleged death of Khashoggi was the result of an interrogation gone wrong.

A pro-government Turkish daily published preliminary evidence last week from investigators who it said had identified a 15-member Saudi intelligence team that arrived in Istanbul on diplomatic passports hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

Saudi officials insisted the Washington Post columnish, who was often critical of the Saudi government, left the building through another exit, but have not provided evidence.

Riyadh, Oct 16 United States top diplomat Mike Pompeo met Tuesday with Saudi King Salman and the crown prince seeking to defuse a crisis over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, with American officials saying Riyadh had agreed the need for a "thorough" probe.

Turkish authorities have told MEE that they have video and audio recordings of the journalist's alleged murder, and found evidence of blood in the consulate's sewerage system before being allowed into the consulate.

Hence the urgent dispatching of US Secretary of State for talks with the Saudi leadership. Saudi statements up to now have dismissed allegations of a killing as "baseless" and "lies".

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In a separate statement issued on the same day, Nauert said Pompeo had also met with his Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir.

He later told reporters: "The denial was very, very strong".

The case has provoked an worldwide outcry, with US President Donald Trump threatening "severe punishment" if it turns out Khashoggi was killed in the consulate and European allies urging "a credible investigation" and accountability for those responsible.

In his comments to reporters, Pompeo said he also stressed the "longstanding strategic relationship" between the USA and Saudi Arabia.

For many years, the notion that Khashoggi would turn into the Saudi regime's most-wanted opponent would have seemed inconceivable as he built a career as a journalist and an operative in close connection to the Saudi ruling establishment.

King Salman ordered an investigation into the missing journalist on Monday.

Gerard Butler said Monday he's canceled a press tour to Saudi Arabia for his upcoming movie, as it felt "incredibly insensitive" in the wake of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate.

US Senator Lindsey Graham, pictured with fellow Republican Senator Marco Rubio in Washington in 2014, described Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a "wrecking ball".

That could, like Trump's comments, seek to give the kingdom a way out of the global firestorm of criticism over Khashoggi's fate. Several countries are calling for a response while US President Donald Trump has threatened severe punishment against the Middle Eastern Kingdom. The U.S. president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production to drive down high oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran.

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