Saudi Journalist Could Have Been Murdered By ‘Rogue Killers’

"We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment".

Earlier on the same day, Trump tweeted that Khashoggi is not a U.S. citizen and "I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!" The disappearance, that some consider a murder investigation, was seen by many as the work of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of the war in Yemen and the embargo on Qatar.

Trump also stepped back from his pledge that Saudi Arabia would face "severe punishment" if it is found to be responsible for the yet-to-be-determined fate of Virginia-based writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2. "Absolutely extraordinary they were able to enlist the president as their PR agent to float it", said Chris Murphy, a Democrat senator.

Mr Pompeo was hastily dispatched to Riyadh amid signs that the current Saudi position - a flat denial that Mr Khashoggi was killed inside their consulate in Istanbul - might be about to change.

The US president said King Salman had "firmly denied" that the Saudi state was behind the alleged killing. Turkey claims he was killed and dismembered inside the building by a 15-member Saudi "assassination squad" and say they have evidence to support their claims.

Khashoggi never exited the consulate and Turkish officials have yet to officially state what they believe happened to him. He said Pakistan has close and fraternal relationship with both Turkey and Saudi Arabia. "And it sounds like he and also the crown prince had no knowledge", he said, referring to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

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On Monday afternoon, another scenario emerged: CNN reported that Saudi Arabia is preparing to say that Khashoggi was killed in an interrogation "that went wrong" and that he was supposed to be abducted instead.

Earlier this month, Khashoggi, a Saudi dissident, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.

A Turkish prosecutor left around one and a half hours later, followed shortly after by a Saudi team that departed in three vehicles, another witness said.

The World Bank, The New York Times, Bloomberg, CNBC and Uber have also announced their decision to pull out the conference amid the ongoing scandal around Khashoggi's disappearance.

A Saudi delegation arrived in Turkey on Friday to discuss the case with Turkish authorities, following a Turkish presidential spokesperson's announcement that a joint Turkish-Saudi investigation team would be formed upon the kingdom's request. The president of the United States said something flat-out nutty, and our major news organizations treated it like normal news, slapping it into the headlines and passing it along to their readers with little more than the standard, buried "critics said" response.

The organizers of the event said in a statement Monday that the conference will move ahead as planned starting October 23, despite speakers and sponsors pulling out.

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