Trump says allegations against Saudis are example of "guilty until proven innocent"

Jamal Khashoggi

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However, U.S. news reports said Saudi Arabia was edging toward acknowledging that Khashoggi was killed after he entered the consulate, blaming his death on an interrogation gone wrong. "They had come to kill him", the source told MEE.

Members of the US Congress, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans, are among the loudest voices in the United States demanding answers and action on Khashoggi, who moved to Washington a year ago fearing retribution for his criticism of the crown prince.

One CNN source cautioned that the report was still being prepared and could change, while another said it will likely conclude the operation took place without clearance, and that those involved will be held responsible.

Mr Khashoggi was once an adviser to the Saudi royal family but fell out of favour with the Saudi government and went into self-imposed exile.

"The overall objectives are to reach out to the media with factual information and provide access to Saudi officials; promote Saudi Arabia as an ally in the war on terrorism; meet with key lawmakers on the Hill, as well as within the administration, to emphasize Saudi Arabia as a strategic ally; and educate the American people about Saudi Arabia and the region", the website says.

Jamal Khashoggi has always been feared killed at the consulate after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on October 2 and was never seen exiting.

Turkish investigators conducted a nine-hour search at the consulate on Tuesday.

"We are strong and old allies", the prince told Pompeo.

But as evidence piles up that Saudi Arabia ordered Khashoggi's assassination, which the government denies, the backlash is getting louder.

King Salman emphasised the importance of the Turkey-Saudi relationship and said no-one should be able to "undermine the strength of this relationship", Saudi's official media reported.

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The president also commented about the ongoing matter during an interview with Fox Business' Trish Regan Tuesday night. He had this guy murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it.

Khashoggi has been missing since October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkey had earlier claimed that a team of 15 Saudis flew into Istanbul to kill Khashoggi and said that there was audio and video recordings from inside the building to prove that he had been killed there, but no further details had been made public.

Saudi Arabia has denied any role in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Erdoğan has two outstanding grievances with the United States - its refusal to extradite the Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom he sees as the chief conspirator behind the failed military coup in 2016, and its continued support for Kurdish YPG fighters in northern Syria.

Just hours before the forensic inspection, the Saudis let in a team of cleaners armed with several large mops and buckets.

A Turkish official yesterday claimed the consulate walls have been repainted since the alleged murder and said the Turks don't trust the Saudis not to obfuscate the investigation, reported the Middle Eastern Eye.

"I don't want to get into his mind, but it sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers", Trump added.

"His denial to me could not have been stronger", Trump said, echoing language he has used to describe Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of meddling in the 2016 election that sent Trump to the White House.

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