Trump reluctant to abandon Riyadh over missing journalist, wants evidence

Khashoggi was tortured before being killed: report

When US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew into Riyadh to discuss the disappearance and likely death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Arabia transferred $100m to the State Department for US efforts against the Islamic State (IS) group, the New York Times reported late Tuesday.

Asked whether the United States was seeking audio or video evidence that Turkey reportedly has, Trump said: "We have asked for it, if it exists".

The Trump administration is relying on Saudi Arabia for a slew of crucial foreign policy priorities, from funding for Syria's reconstruction and the fight against extremists there, to getting Saudi financial support for a Middle East peace plan.

Turkish officials also revealed to the Wall Street Journal that Khashoggi was never interrogated before he was beaten and killed, undermining the Saudi theory that he may have been killed in an interrogation gone wrong. If there really were to be an global backlash that led to investors pulling out, cutoff of substantial foreign investment in Saudi Arabia, Saudis, rich families, moving their money out of the country - which I understand is already happening at an accelerating rate - then those economic plans become even more hard to fulfill than they are in good times.

Mr Khashoggi is a United States resident and columnist for the Washington Post newspaper who went into self-imposed exile past year after reportedly being warned by Saudi officials to stop criticising the crown prince's policies.

Turkish police and forensic experts on Wednesday began searching the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul, an AFP correspondent saw.

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Turkish officials have been saying Khashoggi was murdered while attempting to get a marriage certificate at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Monday with King Salman.

As he headed to Ankara to talk to the Turkish leaders about their investigation regarding the missing journalist, Pompeo said that the Saudi monarch and his son assured him they "would show the entire world" the results of their investigation.

But when asked if he was "giving cover" to the Saudi leaders, he said Wednesday that he was not.

"We will probably know that by the end of the week", Trump said.

Trump told reporters Wednesday the USA has asked for the recordings "if it exists".

Saudis begin internal probe into journo's disappearance as U.S. tensions intensify
Turkey believes Khashoggi was deliberately killed in the Saudi consulate and his body was removed on Oct 2. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia warned Washington that it would retaliate against any USA sanctions.

He was allegedly killed during an interrogation inside the consulate, media outlets have reported. To uncritically believe that this audio recording even exists and that it contains what the Turkish government says it contains would be to give in to the anti-Saudi hysteria in the media, which, you may have noticed, has now morphed into anti-Trump hysteria.

Reporters at the White House asked Trump why he did not send the FBI to investigate Khashoggi's disappearance, as he was a resident of the state of Virginia.

At the same time tensions are strained between the United States and Saudi Arabia over a journalist who may have been killed, a warning is going out for the tread carefully on the world stage.

He said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries' actions.

Trump said he planned to see Pompeo either Wednesday night or Thursday morning to get a readout of his meetings with the Saudis and Turks.

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