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

17 October 2018

Pompeo said he would meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital Ankara, two weeks after Khashoggi vanished when he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to collect documents he needed for his planned marriage.

Mr. Trump has spoken with Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whom he said both deny any knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance.

Turkish forensics and police officers arrive to the Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on October 15, 2018, to search the premises in the investigation over missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had become a critic of the current government and Crown Prince bin Salman, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has shown little tolerance for criticism.

Turkish police investigators entered the Istanbul consulate late on Monday.

After speaking with the king, Trump floated the idea that "rogue killers" may have been responsible for the disappearance.

"The president is willingly and knowingly doing the counter messaging for the Saudi kingdom".

But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the global reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.

The decision to widen the search to the consul's residence was announced to reporters by Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who added that he had received no "confession" from the Saudis.

A Washington lobbying firm has told Saudi Arabia it will no longer represent the kingdom, as worldwide furor builds over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo's emergency meeting comes after Middle East Eye revealed new details of Khashoggi's murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Monday evening.

Pompeo told reporters as he departed Riyadh that neither side would talk about the "facts" of the case before Saudi officials were able to complete a "thorough investigation" into the journalist's disappearance.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be difficult" the Turkish official said.

Khashoggi wasn't interrogated, the sources said - instead he was beaten up, drugged and killed in the office of the Saudi consul general Mohammad al-Otaibi. Trump has resisted any action, pointing to huge United States weapons deals pending with Saudi Arabia and saying that sanctions could end up hurting the American economy.

The daily reported that in another tape, an unknown individual tells Otaibi: "If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet!" "We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned", he told Associated Press.

Turkish officials have said they believe he was killed, a claim Saudi Arabia denies. "And I also think it sends... a bad message to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia that you can get away with this sort of thing".

A source has claimed Jamal Khashoggi was butchered alive in a brutal seven-minute execution after reportedly hearing audio of the missing journalist's horrifying last moments.

Despite Western concerns about Saudi Arabia's human rights record, Trump still says he is unwilling to pull out of weapons sales agreements with Riyadh.

Trump says allegations against Saudis are example of