Trump says American investigators are in Turkey

Justin Trudeau

The crisis has heightened tensions among already-wary regional powers, and could also loosen the close - but complex - ties forged between Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman and Trump, who said Thursday he wanted to get to the bottom of the Khashoggi mystery, too. "I like them very much". He says that stepping back from arms sales to the Saudis "a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".

The US State Department has said it has no information about Mr Khashoggi's whereabouts.

Trump expressed reservations about withholding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. "That's a bad situation".

With every day, leaks from the Turkish investigation are drip-fed to the media here - and hope that Jamal Khashoggi might still be alive fades further. "Saudi Arabia, I get along with all of them", he said in 2015 on the campaign trail.

"I think that would be hurting us", Mr. Trump said. "We can't let it happen".

It was a year ago that Donald Trump joined in a traditional sword jig in Saudi Arabia where he was swaying and smirking with pleasure on the defense deal with Riyadh, pledging $110 billion immediately and an estimated $300 billion over 10 years.

Donald Trump has said the USA is being "very tough" in its bid to find out what has happened to missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

US officials quoted by the Post described the intelligence concerning a Saudi plot to abduct Khashoggi as too vague to trigger a warning to the journalist under longstanding American policy.

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Turkish officials also provided the Post with a series of surveillance video clips that purport to show movements involved in the killing or abduction of Khashoggi: the journalist entering the consulate; a black Mercedes leaving the consulate and then arriving at the consul general's house; Cengiz, the fiancée, pacing outside the consulate as she makes phone calls; the Saudi men leaving an Istanbul hotel and getting on planes at the airport. MBS said his country will not pay Washington for its own security, saying his oil-rich kingdom was created before the US itself.

The Post, a newspaper to which Khashoggi contributed, cited unnamed USA officials as saying that Saudi officials had been heard discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi from the U.S. state of Virginia, where he resided, and detain him.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his country was anxious about Khashoggi's disappearance and can not remain silent, in comments quoted by Hurriyet newspaper on Thursday.

Murphy was among seven senators who wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday raising concerns over last month's certification that a Saudi-led coalition was taking actions to protect civilians despite what the lawmakers described as a dramatic increase in deaths.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime critic of the Saudi government, said he'll try to force a vote in the Senate this week blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, Trump's frequently said, are customers of his. The text on the screen from source in Turkish reads: "nine people enter from airport's E Gate on October 2, 2018 around 03:37".

Turkish officials say they believe Khashoggi, a critic of Salman who has been living in self-imposed exile in the USA, was murdered October 2 inside the consulate when he went there to pick up documents to allow him to marry Cengiz, a Turkish national, or perhaps spirited away to Riyadh.

Turkish authorities have privately said they believe Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the consulate. Kushner has actively cultivated Mohammed bin Salman as a key ally, praising the young leader, dining with him in Washington and Riyadh and hosting one-on-one phone calls with him outside of normal diplomatic channels. "I don't trust them one bit". We have some incredible people and some incredible talent working on it.

Turkish officials believed that 59-year-old Khashoggi, also a Washington Post contributor, was murdered inside the consulate.

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