Thomas Lippmann: US Has Never Risked Saudi Relationship Over Human Rights

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"Remember what happened", Lippmann said, "the president's first foreign trip after he became president was to Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis flattered him in every way which, he ate it up, and they had him looking into that glowing orb and really feeling that he had found some kind of - don't know, soul mate - in Saudi Arabia".

"I keep hearing we're giving them some benefit of the doubt".

The New York Times is reporting that the Turkish government told them they have an audio recording that proves the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi occurred in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, and that the victim was beheaded and his body cut into pieces.

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"As the new crown prince engages in increasingly reckless behavior, more and more of us are wondering whether our ally's actions are in our own best interests", he wrote in The Washington Post.

Turkish officials, on the other hand, have been releasing evidence and brutal recordings of Khashoggi being beaten, drugged, murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"No not at all, I just want to find out what's happening", Trump told reporters.

The report by Yeni Şafak adds to the ever-increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, who vanished on October 2 while visiting the consulate to pick up paperwork he needed to get married.

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The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe diplomatic meetings, said Pompeo also made it clear to the crown prince that the Saudis had to get their investigation done very quickly.

Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 as fears mount he was killed. The Saudis put the president at odds with other key allies and with some leaders in his Republican Party who have condemned the Saudi leadership for what they say is an obvious role in the case.

He said before arriving in Turkey that in Saudi Arabia he stressed the "importance of them conducting a complete investigation into the disappearance" and Riyadh had vowed to do this. Already, prominent lawmakers from both parties are questioning his fitness to lead the country and suggesting it might be time to re-think US-Saudi relations and sharply curb arms sales.

He said he would have a "long talk" with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after his return from Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and there is mounting worldwide pressure on Saudi Arabia over his killing.

According to the latest reports, the Saudi journalist was assassinated by a squad that included agents tied to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a powerful figure in the Saudi royal family and lynchpin in the trend toward ever-tightening relations with Trump's White House.

The existence of audio evidence that Mr Khashoggi - a critic of Saudi leaders - was murdered was revealed by Turkish investigators early on in their inquiries.

Turkish police on Wednesday began searching the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul for their investigation, with forensics experts in white overalls entering the building, an AFP correspondent said.

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