Trump says report on Khashoggi's death coming in 2 days

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Pence also described what he termed the murder as an "affront to a free and independent press."Saudi Arabia official narrative on the October 2 killing has oscillated: it first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts and later said he was killed when an argument with Saudi officials degenerated into a fistfight".

The CIA's assessment is in line with information gathered by foreign governments, according to officials in several European capitals, who believe the operation was too brazen to have taken place without Mohammed's direction.

Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributor to The Washington Post, that he should go to the consulate to get the documents and assured him it would be safe. During the phone call, Khalid bin Salman encouraged Khashoggi to go to the consulate in Istanbul.

Investigators also believe an operation such as the one that ended in Khashoggi's death would not have happened without bin Salman's knowledge given his control of the government, the senior USA official said.

The senior United States official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.

Prince Khalid, now back in Saudi Arabia, said on Twitter that he had not been in contact with Khashoggi for almost a year.

As expected, the Saudi government has denied the CIA's findings.

"Khashoggi's desperate attempts to survive could be heard in a seven minute audio recording". He also said he wanted to preserve the strong relationship with Saudi Arabia amid the murder investigation. Two key questions however remain unanswered - where is Khashoggi's body and who ordered the murder of the 61-year-old?

Prince Khalid took to Twitter on Friday to dispute the report. Khashoggi's death "would not and could not have happened" if MBS was not connected, an official told the outlet.

Government officials do not believe there is a metaphorical "smoking gun" that explicitly ties MBS to the murder. Besides contradictory accounts offered by the Saudi government points towards a state-sponsored cover-up.

The Saudi government has repeatedly changed its story on Khashoggi's death.

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Turkish officials say his murder was premeditated and carried out by a team of Saudi agents.

It says Khashoggi was killed as a result of a "rogue operation".

Baeshen said the ambassador did not discuss with Khashoggi 'anything related to going to Turkey'. Saudi Deputy Public Prosecutor, Shalaan bin Ranjhi Shalaan said in a news conference on Thursday that Khashoggi was given a lethal injection after the negotiation failed and a brawl broke out. His body was then dismembered and handed over to a local "collaborator", according to BBC.

In a somewhat symbolic gesture, on Thursday the U.S. imposed sanctions on a group of Saudis arrested by Riyadh over their alleged role in Khashoggi's killing, many of whom would likely face the death penalty.

The comments came the day after both The Washington Post and The New York Times reported that the CIA had intelligence linking the crown prince to the operation that led to Mr Khashoggi's death. And although alleged involvement has been widely condemned, no substantial action has been taken by any country against the Kingdom or the Crown Prince.

On Saturday, Trump again reiterated that Riyadh remains a "spectacular ally", noting that "as of this moment, we were told that [MbS] did not play a role". It must be mentioned here that Trump's son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, shares a close rapport with Mohammed bin Salman.

Mr Trump spoke earlier with CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from Air Force One, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

Saudi Arabia is America's most important ally in the Middle-East, particularly for countering Iran.

Before the briefing, President Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia to the USA, as he has done since news of Khashoggi's killing emerged.

But they have also stressed the importance of Washington's ties with Riyadh, one of the biggest clients of the United States defence industry. "They give us a lot of jobs, they give us a lot of business, a lot of economic development". The official said the intelligence has been briefed at very senior levels.

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