Published: Wed, October 24, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Saudi Attorney General: Jamal Khashoggi Killed in Consulate Fight

Saudi Attorney General: Jamal Khashoggi Killed in Consulate Fight

US President Donald Trump says he wants to listen to the audio, but has acknowledged that Khashoggi was likely dead even as his fate remains unclear more than two weeks after he vanished.

Trump said the possible consequences for the Saudi side, if it is confirmed behind Khashoggi's death, "will have to be very severe".

Before Trump spoke, the administration announced that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had pulled out of a major upcoming Saudi investment conference and a USA official said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned the Saudi crown prince that his credibility as a future leader is at stake.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Just back from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went to the White House today to brief President Trump, saying the Saudis are promising they will be thorough in their investigation.

In a frame from surveillance camera footage taken October 2, 2018, and published October 18, 2018, by Turkish newspaper Sabah, a man identified by Turkish officials as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, walks toward the Saudi consulate in Istanbul before journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared.

Turkey's foreign minister says his country has not shared any audio recordings from Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance with USA officials.

Investigators said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him inside the consulate, which led to his death. Saudi Arabia had rejected as baseless reports that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate, but had been facing growing pressure to explain what happened to him.

Pompeo said that whatever response the administration might decide on would take into account the importance of the long-standing U.S. -Saudi partnership.

Turkish crime scene investigators this week searched the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul and the nearby residence of the Saudi consul general, and came out carrying bags and boxes.

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In the op-ed, titled "Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression", Khashoggi recounted the imprisonment of a prominent writer who spoke against the Saudi establishment, and cited an incident in which the Egyptian government seized control of a newspaper. It wasn't immediately clear what they hoped to find there, although surveillance video had showed diplomatic cars moving between the consulate and the residence almost two hours after Khashoggi walked into the diplomatic post.

Khashoggi's editors at the Post described him as a "committed, courageous journalist" and "one of the leading proponents of freedom and democratic change" for Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.

Many samples were taken from the consulate and the residence, the official said, including soil and water.

Sabah's report does not name the man in the CCTV image, but he has been previously identified as Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a reported bodyguard and regular member of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage.

Khashoggi has been missing since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

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The official also said the Pompeo had warned Prince Mohammed that given the allegations it would be "very hard for you to be a credible king" without a credible investigation into the case.

King Salman has been "asserting himself" in handling the matter after the prince's meeting with Erdogan, said another source, a Saudi businessman who lives overseas but has close ties to the royal family.

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