The U.S. has requested audio and video evidence concerning Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance "if it exists," U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday.
“We have asked for it. If it exists we have asked for it,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, adding it "probably does" exist.
Trump said he was waiting to be briefed on the missing journalist from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he returns from his trip to Ankara and Riyadh.
Khashoggi has not been since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 as fears mount he was killed in the diplomatic facility.
US rep. introduces bill to ban Saudi arms sales
A bill in the House of Representatives would halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia unless Secretary of State Mike Pompeo certifies the kingdom did not order the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.Massachusetts Democratic congressman Jim McGovern, co-chair of the Human Rights Commission and the ranking member of the House Rules Committee, took the lead on the legislation, saying reports about Khashoggi "represent a brazen violation of international norms."The legislation states U.S. military aid and sales to Saudi Arabia would be prohibited, pending confirmation from Pompeo on the status of Khashoggi.“If the United States stands for anything, we need to stand out loud and foursquare for human rights. Our values are our strength, and we cannot be indifferent or complicit when those values are undermined or attacked," McGovern said in a statement last week.US intel ties Saudi Prince to journo’s disappearanceKhashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 as fears mount he was killed.Multiple reports have cited audio and video recordings containing grisly details of his alleged killing at the hands of Saudi operatives after he entered the consulate.Other U.S. lawmakers have also taken similar stances on Saudi Arabia, saying sanctions are necessary if reports of the journalist's death are true.Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned there would be "hell to pay" if Khashoggi was killed.Turkish-Saudi team completes probe at Saudi consulateAccording to the Intercept news website, the bill, introduced to the House on Tuesday, is being co-sponsored by six Democrats and two Republican lawmakers.Republican Senator John Kennedy said that while Saudi Arabia should be condemned if it is found to be behind Khashoggi's disappearance, the U.S. should stop short of "blowing up the Middle East" in retaliation."You could expel diplomats. You could do a U.N. resolution. You could curtail arms sales. You could do sanctions on individuals," Kennedy said, according to the Hill news outlet. "Our foreign policy has to be anchored on values, that's America."Among the "number of options" the U.S. could pursue are sanctions, arms sales reductions and UN resolutions, Kennedy suggested.
Multiple reports have cited audio and video recordings containing grisly details of Khashoggi's alleged killing at the hands of Saudi operatives after he entered the consulate.
On the same day Khashoggi entered the consulate, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the building while Khashoggi was still inside, Turkish police sources said. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.
Trump continued to stand by Saudi Arabia after saying earlier this week that Khashoggi's disappearance could have been the work of "rogue killers," but said he is "not giving cover at all" to Riyadh, whom he repeatedly called a close U.S. ally.
“They’re an important ally, but I want to find out what happened, where is the fault, and we will probably know that by the end of the week,” Trump added.
Saudi Arabia has yet to give a sufficient answer for Khashoggi's fate more than two weeks after he went missing, but continue to deny any role in his disappearance.
US intel ties Saudi Prince to journo’s disappearance
U.S. intelligence officials are becoming more convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played a role in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The New York Times reported late Wednesday.“American intelligence officials are increasingly convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is culpable in the killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an appraisal that poses challenges to a White House intent on maintaining a close relationship with the kingdom,” the newspaper claimed.“Intelligence agencies have not yet been able to collect direct evidence of the prince’s involvement, American and European officials said. They also have not been able to conclude whether Prince Mohammed directly ordered the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, or whether his intention was to have Mr. Khashoggi captured and taken back to Saudi Arabia,” the paper reported, citing one official.Missing Saudi journalist’s fate still uncertainBut “intelligence agencies have growing circumstantial evidence of the prince’s involvement,” the report said, citing American officials. “The prince’s complete control over the security services makes it highly unlikely that an operation would have been undertaken without his knowledge,” it added.On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that some of the suspects identified by Turkey in Khashoggi’s disappearance had ties to the Crown Prince. Khashoggi has long been feared killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen leaving.On the same day, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.US conveys willingness to help Turkey on Khashoggi case'Turkey serious amid US cleanup of journalist case'
Turkish-Saudi team completes probe at Saudi consulate
A joint investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was completed early Thursday.All officials from the joint Turkish-Saudi team have left the area after searching the Saudi consul general's official residence as well as the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent at the scene.Crime scene investigation units arrived at the Istanbul residence of Mohammad al-Otaibi around 4:40 p.m. local time (1340 GMT). Al-Otaibi left Turkey for Riyadh on Tuesday.The Turkish team concluded its search for evidence in nine hours and left but returned to the Saudi consulate to continue searching the premises.US intel ties Saudi Prince to journo’s disappearanceEarlier in the day, a group of Saudi officials arrived at the Saudi consul general's residence to take part in the joint probe with Turkish investigators into Khashoggi’s disappearance.Khashoggi has long been feared killed after he entered the Saudi Consulate building in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and was never seen leaving.On the same day, 15 other Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on two planes and visited the consulate while Khashoggi was still inside, according to Turkish police sources. All of the identified individuals have since left Turkey.