Jamal Khashoggi: what we know so far

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's fiancée Hatice Cengiz

Twenty-two US Senators on Wednesday sent a letter to President Donald Trump triggering an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist last seen entering the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Corker spoke with reporters after the letter was released, and he emphasized that senators "specifically said it included the highest members of the regime" and could "absolutely" lead to USA sanctions targeting the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud. "I don't want to prejudge, but if it goes down the road that I'm anxious about it going down, contempt will be met with contempt", he said.

The US president, a key ally of the oil-rich Gulf state, said he had spoken with Saudi representatives about the "bad situation" with the journalist but did not disclose details of the conversations.

But in his first extensive remarks about Khashoggi's case, Trump warned it is "a very sad situation. We want to get to the bottom of it".

Mr Trump, who took his first overseas trip as United States president to the kingdom and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner has close ties to Prince Mohammed, said he had not yet talked to the Saudis about Khashoggi.

Fox & Friends host Brian Kilmeade noted Jared Kushner is "very tight" with Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman, before asking: "What's it going to take to get some answers?"

"Is it possible for there to be no camera systems at the Saudi Arabia consulate, where the event took place?", Erdogan was quoted as saying by Hurriyet.

The letter demands that the White House "determine whether a foreign person is responsible for the extrajudicial killing, torture or gross violation of internationally recognized human rights".

According to the Post, the intelligence pointing to a plan to detain Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia has fueled speculation what actually transpired at the consulate was a plan to detain Khashoggi that went wrong.

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The Post said Khashoggi, who'd been living in the United States fearing arrest for criticizing Saudi leadership, entered the consulate to obtain paperwork for a wedding.

What's next: As the two sides preserve the veneer of cooperation, Turkish investigators were widely expected to conduct a search at the consulate today after Saudi Arabia granted its permission. But they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the USA scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen. A third appeared to be a special forces soldier who worked as a bodyguard to Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Surveillance footage from outside the consulate shows Mr Khashoggi entering the consulate on October 2.

The Saudi consulate referred Reuters to authorities in Riyadh who have not responded to questions about the 15 Saudis, who Sabah said travelled on diplomatic passports, arriving in Istanbul hours before Khashoggi disappeared.

Trump expressed reservations about withholding arms sales to Saudi Arabia. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before.

It is claimed that one of the men was a forensics expert, while others were part of the military or had close links to Saudi Arabia's ruling inner-circle.

He added, "The Saudis continue to claim that they aren't targeting civilians inside Yemen, but how can we believe them when they apparently just hunted down and murdered an American resident whose only offense was writing critical articles about the Saudi royal family?"

The administration also relies on Saudi support for its Middle East agenda to counter Iranian influence, fight extremism and support an expected peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

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