Trump says 'rogue killers' may be behind Saudi journalist's disappearance

Speaking to reporters on the White House lawn Monday, Trump repeatedly noted Saudi Arabia's denial of alleged killing was "very strong", even adding that Khashoggi could have been murdered by "rogue killers".

Members of Khashoggi's family called for an investigation, in a statement released on Monday. Turkish authorities believe he was killed inside the consulate.

Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi government, disappeared early this month after entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey.

Trump suggested that "rogue killers" may be responsible for the fate of a missing Washington Post columnist named Jamal Khashoggi.

Smith said Monday on "Shepard Smith Reporting" that Trump's theory appears to "give cover to the Saudis".

US officials have also said that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered an operation to lure Khashoggi from his home in Virginia back to Saudi Arabia and then to detain him, according to USA intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plot.

One of the sources acknowledged that the report is still being prepared and cautioned that things could change. Riyadh has rejected the claims.

After meeting the Turkish foreign minister yesterday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "There remain questions about Mr Khashoggi that only Saudi Arabia can answer". Jordan related the denial to Saudi Arabia's posture following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, the chiefs of Blackstone and BlackRock, two major USA investment firms, joined an exodus of executives pulling out of Crown Prince's "Davos in the Desert" summit. If this truly were the case, we would see a different posture out of 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.

After gathering information from the Turks and the joint team, "the feeling from the leadership was we needed an internal investigation to make sure we're getting the right story here", the Saudi official said.

Three of Wall Street's leading CEOs unsuccessfully tried to persuade Saudi Arabia's government to delay a major investment conference amid fallout over the disappearance of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

King Salman called Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the weekend to discuss the case. Turkish officials say he was interrogated, tortured, murdered and dismembered inside the building by order of Saudi leaders.

It is not clear what kind of search the officials will conduct and whether it will include a forensic examination, given that it has been nearly two weeks since the reporter entered the building.

But it remained unclear what evidence would remain almost two weeks after Khashoggi's disappearance.

Several hours before the searchers arrived, journalists spotted a cleaning crew going inside the consulate.

It was unclear on Tuesday when or if Saudi Arabia would go public with any new admissions in relation to Khashoggi's disappearance.

  • Jon Douglas