Turkish police search van that allegedly carried Khashoggi's body

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

This marked a hardening of tone from the Trump administration, which has been reluctant to blame ally Saudi Arabia, despite mounting evidence that the kingdom's agents killed and dismembered Khashoggi inside its consulate in Istanbul more than two weeks ago.

Pompeo says the Saudis assured him they will conduct a "complete, thorough" investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

The Washington Post has previously cited unnamed USA and Turkish officials pointing to audio and video recordings that supposedly prove Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and was then dismembered.

A black van that allegedly carried the body of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to the consul's residence was searched for three hours by Turkish forensics expert, local media reported October 19.

Increasingly upset US lawmakers are condemning the Saudis and questioning the seriousness with which Trump and his top aides are taking the matter, while Trump has emphasized the billions of dollars in weapons the Saudis purchase from the United States. "But we'll see what happens".

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Consul Otaibi left Istanbul on Tuesday for Riyadh ahead of a planned search of his residence as part of the official Turkish investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said: "U.N. involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh".

The White House referred questions to the State Department which denied Pompeo had heard the recording.

On Monday, CNN cited two sources as saying the Saudis are preparing a report that Khashoggi's death resulted from a botched interrogation.

Former OMB Director David Stockman says the USA should stop propping up Saudi Arabia and that the stock market is overvalued.

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"The specific transfer of funds has been long in process and has nothing to do with other events or the secretary's visit", said Brett McGurk, a United States envoy cited by The Times.

Also on Thursday, Pompeo told reporters that he suggested that Trump allow Saudi officials more time to complete an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

Sabah also published other photographs showing Mutreb outside the Saudi consul general's home, leaving a Turkish hotel with a large suitcase, and at a Turkish worldwide airport later that same day.

"We have asked for it, if it exists", the president said.

Multiple Turkish outlets reported that the prince's close confidante Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb was caught on surveillance video entering the consulate just hours before Khashoggi arrived for his appointment.

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