Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday the United States should "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia" over the incident and said he would never again work with the crown prince, assailing him as "toxic" and calling him a "wrecking ball".
It has been two weeks now since the disappearance of the Washington Post journalist, who is believed to have been killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week where he went to get documents for his marriage with his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, and Riyadh still is not showing sufficient care regarding the case.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is now in Saudi Arabia meeting royalty amid growing worldwide tension over the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "I don't want to talk about any of the facts".
He said Turkish authorities had not asked him to go, adding: "He wanted to leave".
The government's tentative explanation comports with comments Mr. Trump made Monday, after speaking to Saudi King Salman: "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers", the president said.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and critic of the government who wrote for The Washington Post, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, triggering a major diplomatic crisis for the kingdom.
Otaibi left Istanbul on Tuesday for Riyadh ahead of a planned search of his residence as part of the official Turkish investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.More news: Did Crown Prince Order Murder of Saudi Journalist?
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A steady drip of leaks from police, diplomatic and intelligence sources have claimed that the 60-year-old was murdered for his opposition to the Saudi regime, allegations the Gulf kingdom has called "baseless". "Nothing happens in Saudi Arabia without MBS knowing it", he said.
The US state department said Prince Mohammed agreed there must be a thorough and transparent investigation into the journalist's disappearance.
"Enforced disappearance or murder, if that has occurred, extra-judicial killing, either way, those are very serious crimes", he added."We all need to know what it was, how it happened and who was responsible and where the evidence leads".
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told the state-run Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has "accepted" a request for a search of the official residence but had not yet given its final consent.
Following Trump's comments about the possibility that "rogue killers" might have been involved, several United States media outlets reported that a Saudi probe was expected to paint Khashoggi's death as a result of a botched rendition and interrogation. As Reuters notes, Google had announced an initiative to train aspiring tech workers at five "innovation hubs" throughout Saudi Arabia. "You are going to get me in trouble".
A team of Turkish police spent more than nine hours in the consulate on October 15 and October 16 and the Associated Press reported that they found "certain evidence" about the killing of the prominent Saudi dissident.
Soylu said: "As soon as (Saudi Arabia) gives the consent, steps will be taken toward investigating".