Pompeo meets Saudi royal family to discuss Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance

A murder claim gives Turkey leverage over Saudi and Trump

Also Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with the king and crown prince in Riyadh and said the Saudis had already started a "serious and credible investigation" and seemed to suggest it could lead to people within the kingdom.

With evidence mounting that Saudi Arabia is behind the suspected murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has come under increasing fire in the Western press.

Trump said Monday morning that the king, in a 20-minute phone call, offered him a "flat denial" that the Saudi government was behind Khashoggi's disappearance and possible murder. Khashoggi was a Saudi citizen and US resident who wrote critically of the kingdom's leaders. A Turkish diplomatic source had earlier said a joint Turkish-Saudi team would search the building - the last place Khashoggi was seen before he vanished on October 2.

That attitude does not appear to be shared with Congress, as one prominent Republican senator said he believed that the crown prince, widely known as MBS, had Khashoggi "murdered".

Saudi Arabia has denied these reports.

Gardiner says Iran, a regional rival to Saudi Arabia, comes into play as well.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) shaking hands as they pose for a photo during their meeting at Esenboga International Airport in Ankara. "And I also think it sends... a bad message to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia that you can get away with this sort of thing".

Turkish officials have searched the consulate and sources said a recording reveals Khashoggi was beaten after a brief conversation with Saudi consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi.

How is it going for Saudi Arabia now?

Since Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance, powerful US executives have withdrawn from a high-profile investment conference in Riyadh this month.

"These shocking and gruesome details would explain why USA intelligence sources told CNN and other American media outlets that they were "utterly shocked" at what the content of the recordings presented to them by the Turkish authorities".

The alleged hit squad was sent from Saudi Arabia and organized the killing.

It has been two weeks now since the disappearance of the Washington Post journalist, who is believed to have been killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last week where he went to get documents for his marriage with his Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz, and Riyadh still is not showing sufficient care regarding the case.

Executives from companies such as Ford, Uber and JPMorgan Chase also have also pulled out of Saudi Arabia's premier Future Investment Initiative Conference.

A third suspect was said to be Thaar Ghaleb al-Harbi, who was promoted previous year to lieutenant in the Saudi royal guard for his bravery in the defense of Mohammed's palace in Jeddah.

"All I can do is report what he told me", Trump told reporters on Monday, adding that he warned the Saudi king that "the world is watching".

Mr Trump's remarks are his most robust defence yet of the Saudis, a USA ally he has made central to his Middle East agenda.

Trump said he was aware of the CNN report but that it wasn't clear if the network relied on official sources.

'We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi Government to provide a complete and detailed response'.

"This guy has got to go", said Sen Lindsey Graham of SC, turning to speak to the camera.

"They are trying to make fun of us and our willingness to cooperate", one of the officials said.

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