Trump to discuss Khashoggi murder with Secretary of State Pompeo, CIA

According to the Central Intelligence Agency findings, 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate, the report claimed.

President Donald Trump awaited a briefing Saturday from the CIA on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a USA official said American intelligence agencies had concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing.

Saudi authorities maintain the Crown Prince was not involved in the murder case. The newspaper said the prince's brother, who is the current Saudi ambassador to the United States, told Khashoggi he would be safe in going to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents he needed to get married. The other 14, it said, were "members of an operations team" who had a role in the death. "It was also an affront to a free and independent press, and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder".

The call was reportedly intercepted by USA intelligence.

US officials have said Saudi Arabia, a major oil supplier, plays an important part in countering what they see as Iran's malign role in the region, and Trump has repeatedly said he does not want to imperil USA arms sales to the kingdom. Khashoggi was a high-profile critic of Saudi policy and especially of the Kingdom's de-facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

"As I review this list, it's clear that it is not comprehensive", Sen. "I want Saudi to stop but I want Iran to stop also". Tim Kaine, D-Va., referring to Saudi explanations that have changed repeatedly since the killing. Khashoggi died after being drugged and then dismembered, a spokesman for the public prosecutor's office said in the first Saudi confirmation of how he was killed.

United States air refueling flights in support of Saudi-led air operations in Yemen ended last week.

Saudi Arabia's top diplomat has said the crown prince had "absolutely" nothing to do with it.

Trump and other members of his administration have emphasized Saudi Arabia's importance to US objectives in the Middle East, including a pending Israeli-Palestinian peace plan and the campaign against Iran, and stressed the economic importance of the arms sales. The Trump administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing, but American lawmakers have called on the administration to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia or take other harsher punitive measures. He tweeted, "As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26, 2017". Instead, the indictment statement said, he was administered a lethal injection after fighting with the agents.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump, said on Sunday he had no doubt about MbS' involvement in ordering the murderof Khashoggi. Some have said Trump should suspend arms sales to the kingdom and drop his support for MbS, but Trump has so far resisted that pressure.

The prosecutor said 21 people are now in custody, of which 11 had been indicted and referred to trial.

The Treasury statement did not name Assiri among those sanctioned.

  • Jon Douglas