Jamal Khashoggi death: Trump 'not satisfied' with Saudi account

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The Saudis have laid out different versions of the circumstances that led to the death of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was not seen after entering the consulate on October 2.

The mole was part of a sophisticated online effort "dictated" by controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and carried out by his advisers to quash domestic and global criticism of Saudi Arabia, according to the Times.

"I think we're getting close to solving a very big problem", Trump said. "It's a lot of people, a lot of people involved, and I think it's a great first step", Trump told reporters.

Turkish officials, who reportedly have an audio tape of Khashoggi's death, say he was murdered in the consulate by a Saudi hit squad and dismembered under orders of the government.

"This was an operation that was a rogue operation", he said.

A number of USA lawmakers, including a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, Senator Lindsey Graham, said they were sceptical about the report on the journalist's death.

It comes just one day after Saudi Arabia stated that Khashoggi had died in a "fistfight" in the consulate, with authorities announcing the detention of 18 suspects in the case. The Saudi explanation - that an argument in the consulate led to a fatal brawl - is at odds with the conclusions of Turkish investigators, who believe that Khashoggi was deliberately killed by a team of Saudi agents who were dispatched to Istanbul.

Foreign policy expert James Carafano reacts to Saudi Arabia's account of what happened. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, a top adviser to Crown Prince Salman - as part of an investigation into the Khashoggi case. A Saudi government statement describes the Turkish allegations as "baseless".

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What is Saudi Arabia's version of events?

The Saudi king also ordered the setting up of a ministerial body under the chairmanship of the crown prince to restructure the kingdom's intelligence agency and "define its powers precisely", Saudi state media said.

"Obviously, if he's gone forth and murdered this journalist, he's now crossed the line, and there has to be a punishment and a price paid for that", the Senate Foreign Relations chairman said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union".

Sheikh Abdullah concluded his statement by asking God Almighty to preserve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, its leadership and people, and to protect them from any harm.

Asked about Trump's reiteration of the Saudi story, Corker said he did not believe Trump was trying to help the Saudis cover up what happened and that he "can understand the President wanting to keep open channels".

Lawmakers and world leaders reacted with skepticism following the Saudi government's confirmation Friday evening (ET) of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death.

"First we were told Mr Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement", Mr Graham tweeted on Friday.