USA senators trigger human rights probe over missing Saudi journalist


Rubio said on "America's Newsroom" that if evidence of Saudi involvement is found, there will be an effort in Washington, "fundamentally alter" the U.S. -Saudi relationship.

President Donald Trump has expressed reservations over calls to withhold further USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia as the us looks into the fate of a Saudi writer missing and feared murdered by his own government.

Trump told reporters at the White House that he has talked to the Saudi leadership "more than once" since Khashoggi, a United States resident and Washington Post contributor, vanished on October 2 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Saudi Consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh who have not responded to questions about the 15 Saudis, who Sabah said travelled on diplomatic passports, arriving in Istanbul hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

The Washington Post, citing anonymous American officials it said were familiar with USA intelligence, said the crown prince had previously ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.

A government source has told me President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is sounding more cautious than the leaks, because if he were to echo the allegations that Mr Khashoggi was murdered, it would mean kicking out the Saudi ambassador and consul general by now. His fiancee and friends have said he did not leave the building.

Turkish police were looking into two private aircraft that landed at Istanbul's Ataturk airport on October 2 at different times carrying the individuals of interest in the case.

Cengiz waited outside the consulate when Khashoggi entered on 2 October and raised the alarm when he did not emerge. Saudi power is now more concentrated, more brutal, more impatient, more impetuous - and more confident that it can act as it sees fit thanks to the embrace of Mr Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Graham and Leahy are not members of this committee, but signed in their role as leaders of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on state and foreign operations.

The Washington Post, where Khashoggi had been a regular contributor over the past year, also demanded answers.

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The US president told reporters at the White House on Thursday that blocking US arms sales to Riyadh would simply push the Saudi government to buy weapons from Russian Federation and China.

"It's a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation and we want to get to the bottom of it", said the president.

President Donald Trump said Thursday the USA has investigators in Turkey trying to determine what happened to Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, last seen entering Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul last week, but acknowledged his life is imperiled. "Our expectation is that in making your determination you will consider any relevant information, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the government of Saudi Arabia". U.S. ties have always been anchored by energy interests, counter-terror cooperation and more recently by U.S. -Saudi military cooperation in the Yemen civil war. "I don't want anybody else thinking that if they have an alliance with us we don't care about values".

Ties between Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been tense over regional political differences, although the kingdom is a major investor in the Turkish economy. And I love the King, King Salman.

Despite this Riyadh's responses remained weak against Trump's insults. But senior members of Congress with access to USA intelligence reporting feared the worst.

Turkish officials claim that Mr Khashoggi was murdered within its walls.

Did the US know about the assassination? The goal of the operation was to lure Khashoggi from the US, where he had been living, the newspaper reported, and bring him back to Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in the Oval Office, Trump told reporters he had raised Khashoggi's case with Saudi Arabia "at the highest level" and a few times in recent days.