'Toxic materials' looked for at Saudi Consulate - 10/16/2018 5:38:45 AM

Saudi officials have called Turkish allegations that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed Khashoggi "baseless", but USA media reports suggested that the kingdom may acknowledge the writer was killed at the consulate, perhaps as part of a botched interrogation.

"There is not a doubt in my mind that US intelligence knows exactly what the Saudis did to Jamal Khashoggi", Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione wrote on Twitter in response to the Times report. All 15 arrived and left Istanbul on the same day as Khashoggi's disappearance, the report noted.

Saudi Arabia has dismissed accusations that Jamal Khashoggi was ordered murdered by a hit squad inside its Istanbul consulate as 'lies and baseless allegations, ' as Riyadh and Ankara spar over the missing journalist's fate.

On Tuesday, President Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the crown prince informed them that an investigation into the matter had begun and answers would be forthcoming shortly.

Dennis Horak, who was expelled from Saudi Arabia in August after its rulers were incensed by a tweet from Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, essentially branded the desert kingdom too big to fail.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday on Fox News that he wants to see Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman forced out of after the mysterious disappearance of activist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Riyadh to talk directly with Saudi Arabia's royals amid strong pressure in Congress and the US media to prevent the vanishing of Khashoggi from being swept under the carpet. That convention covers diplomatic immunity, as well as the idea that embassies and consulates sit on foreign soil in their host countries.

Turkish forensic investigators searched the consulate overnight. Permission apparently came after a late Sunday night call between King Salman and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He says that if Allen were found guilty in a court of law, things would be different, but for now, "nothing has changed".

The fifth suspect is an autopsy expert, Salah al-Tubaigy, who the Times said identified himself on his Twitter account as the head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics.

Meanwhile, top corporate executives including JP Morgan CEO James Dimon and Ford chairman Bill Ford pulled out of an investment conference in Riyadh following growing tension between Saudi Arabia and major powers. So if the United States sanctions Saudi Arabia and the Saudis slash oil production in retaliation, that could mean a big spike in global oil prices.

"It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers", Trump said.

"He should just know that he has to be better than this, because if he isn't, who else is going to be?"

CNN reported on Monday that after denying for two weeks any role in Khashoggi's disappearance, Saudi Arabia was preparing to say he died in a botched interrogation.

"Riyadh will have to provide some explanation of the journalist's disappearance, but in a manner that distances the leadership from any claim that a decision was made at senior levels to assassinate the prominent journalist".

  • Gwendolyn Kim