Republican Senator John Kennedy said that while Saudi Arabia should be condemned if it is found to be behind Khashoggi's disappearance, the USA should stop short of "blowing up the Middle East" in retaliation. He also reportedly was close to the Saudi crown prince, and has been photographed near him on several worldwide trips.
The US leader made the comments as Turkish police searched the residence of the Saudi consul-general in Istanbul, 2 kilometres from the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was last seen on October 2.
US officials say they are taking Khashoggi's disappearance seriously, but Trump says he has not sent the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stressing that he was not "American citizen".
The Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - one that will avoid implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is among the president's closest foreign allies, according to analysts and officials in multiple countries.
"We've asked for it, if it exists", Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
Khalil Jahshan with the Arab Centre Washington D.C. says investigators have been leaking disturbing evidence to try and force the Saudis to admit they were involved.
Pompeo has been slammed for the warm, smiling images emerging from his trip to Riyadh, as the Saudi story about Khashoggi's fate began to shift and Turkish media published grisly details about his suspected murder and links emerged that tie the suspected killers to crown prince himself.
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"They're going to do an investigation, and when the investigation comes out we'll evaluate it".
The AP's Oval Office interview came not long after Trump spoke Tuesday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. "Saudi Arabia's not any other country", he said, "the government seems to have really persuaded the Saudi people that the war in Yemen is a war of necessity - that is to say, a war they have to fight to prevent Iran from establishing a beachhead on their southern border".
Saudi leaders have denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts, claiming he left the consulate freely shortly after getting the papers. As Reason's Elizabeth Nolan Brown explained this morning, "a mounting body of evidence" links the Saudi government to his disappearance.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday arrived in Ankara from Riyadh for talks with the Turkish leadership, saying Saudi Arabia had promised a full investigation into the case. Lindsey Graham of SC, turning to speak to the camera.
Speaking to reporters in Brussels about Saudi pledges to investigate what has happened, Pompeo said that it was "reasonable to give them a handful of days more to complete" their own investigation "so they get it right, so that it's thorough and complete".
The legislation states US military aid and sales to Saudi Arabia would be prohibited, pending confirmation from Pompeo on the status of Khashoggi. Not a positive. Unless the miracle of all miracles happens, I would acknowledge that he's dead.
Khashoggi, who had been living in the US, visited the consulate to file paperwork for his wedding and has not been seen since. Turkish authorities believe he was murdered, dismembered and possibly transported out of the country in pieces by a 15-man Saudi "hit squad" who flew in and out of the country during the time in question.