Pompeo sees 'serious commitment' from Saudis on missing journalist

President Donald Trump stops to talk to members of the media outside the White House in Washington.         Source Associated Press

"Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who tally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate", Trump tweeted this afternoon.

Members of the U.S. Congress, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans, are among the loudest voices in the United States demanding answers and action on Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who moved to Washington a year ago fearing retribution for his critical views.

"There seems to be clear evidence that Khashoggi entered the Consulate and has never been seen since, the onus is on the Saudi authorities to reveal what happened to him from that point onwards", she said.

Turkey is widening its search for clues to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi to include the Saudi consul's Istanbul residence.

CNN and the Wall Street Journal quote unnamed sources saying Riyadh is preparing to admit that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died during a botched interrogation at the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul.

"They promised accountability for each of those persons whom they determine as a result of their investigation deserves accountability", he said.

One of the suspects, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, has close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as photographs show him disembarking from airplanes with the crown prince in Madrid and Paris, according to the The New York Times.

The G7 foreign ministers said in a statement on Wednesday that they remained "very troubled" by Khashoggi's disappearance.

Earlier, U.S. President Donald Trump gave Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt in Khashoggi's disappearance, while U.S. lawmakers pointed the finger at the Saudi leadership and Western pressure mounted on Riyadh to provide answers.

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Trump has taken a less aggressive stance toward the Saudis, suggesting on Monday after speaking with Saudi King Salman that perhaps "rogue killers" were behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, a sharp critic of the crown prince.

"What we have right now is Mike Pompeo, who's terrific, who's doing a great job, Secretary of State, is with the King right now and the Crown Prince literally as we speak and we're trying to find out what went on", Trump answered.

Last night, a team of Turkish and Saudi officials entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul for a joint inspection two weeks after Khashoggi went missing.

Trump said he is relying on Saudi and Turkish officials to conduct the investigation into Khashoggi's whereabouts, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions said yesterday that the Justice Department could also get involved.

"This guy has got to go", Senator Lindsey Graham told Fox.

The top United States diplomat also said the Saudi leadership "strongly denied any knowledge of what took place in their consulate in Istanbul".

She said under worldwide law, both a forced disappearance and an extra-judicial killing were "very serious crimes" and immunity should not be used to impede investigations into what happened and who is responsible.

Pompeo said the Saudis would investigate and hold themselves accountable, but Saudi's royal family is notoriously opaque. "Saudi Arabia literally has a sword on the flag, so you know".

But hours before the Turkish forensic team arrived, journalists photographed a cleaning crew entering the consulate, hauling buckets, mops and what appeared to be bottles of cleaning solution.

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