President Trump Suggests 'Rogue Killers' Are Responsible for Missing Saudi Journalist

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A separate brief statement issued by State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert also said that "the President has called for a prompt and open investigation into the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi". "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers - who knows", Trump told reporters.

Turkish and Saudi law enforcement officials started to conduct a joint inspection of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul yesterday as Daily Sabah went to press, almost two weeks after the disappearance of Khashoggi.

Trump has said repeatedly he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the USA economically.

USA 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 US intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plot.

The cleaning crew was seen entering the consulate shortly before Turkish investigators were set to arrive to carry out an "inspection" in search of additional evidence of who was behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, a frequent critic of the Saudi royal family.

"It has been 13 days since the event, so surely proving some of the evidence might be hard, but we believe we will obtain evidence", the Turkish official said.

Trump quoted the King on Monday as saying that neither he nor his son, the crown prince, had any information about what had happened to Khashoggi.

"This is the same King Salman who told me after 9/11 that the 9/11 attacks were an Israeli plot", Jordan said. Turkish officials have reported that Khashoggi was murdered in the consulate and dismembered, a charge the Saudis have denied.

A reporter asked "who else could it be besides Saudi Arabia?"

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Meanwhile, more leading business figures say they will not attend a major investment conference in Riyadh later this month.

Pompeo met with Saudi Arabian King Salman and the crown prince in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Pompeo and other White House officials have not addressed reports from CNN and The New York Times suggesting the Saudi government would soon release a report that Khashoggi was accidentally killed as a result of a planned rendition back to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has begun an internal investigation into the disappearance of a prominent journalist at its Istanbul consulate and could hold people accountable if the evidence warrants it, according to a Saudi official. Khaled Saffuri, identified by Yahoo as "a political analyst", said Trump's rhetoric about journalists and the media may have led to the possible death of Khashoggi.

Khashoggi lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past year and wrote columns in The Washington Post criticizing the Saudi leadership.

The push by JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, and Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman came amid backlash to the disappearance of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi's disappearance has caused worldwide furor and created a rift between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

King Salman and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone on Sunday evening and stressed the importance of the two countries creating a joint group as part of the probe.