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Donald Trump says USA 'demanding' answers over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

11 October 2018

The White House said Wednesday that top Trump administration officials have spoken to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom Turkish officials say they believe was murdered last week inside Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia gave no official response to the allegation that members of its security services were on the planes.

Mr Khashoggi was visiting the consulate to finalise his divorce so he could marry his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz.

Mr Trump told reporters he had talked to the Saudi authorities "at the highest level" about Mr Khashoggi.

"I think we'll get to the bottom of it", said Trump. "We do not like seeing what's going on".

He told reporters that "nobody knows what happened yet", and expressed a hope that the journalist may still be alive.

United States intelligence officials reportedly intercepted communications that the Saudis discussed a plan to lure and capture Khashoggi before his disappearance.

The Saudi government asserted that Khashoggi left the premises shortly after his visit.

"The Saudis have a lot of explaining to do because all indications are that they have been involved at minimum with his disappearance", Corker told The Associated Press.

Britain's foreign minister called for urgent answers and the chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker, who has seen classified intelligence on the case, said information pointed to Khashoggi being killed.

The officials wanted to bring him back to Saudi, the Post reported, citing an unidentified official familiar with the situation.

Suspicions are mounting that Saudi's crown prince ordered the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

Turkish NTV also broadcast security camera footage on Wednesday that it said showed the men arriving at the airport and checking into a hotel, as well as videos of what it said was a van arriving at the consul general's residence two hours after Khashoggi entered the consulate, about 250 meters (820 ft) away.

The administration has expressed concern but has refused to even to entertain questions about what the consequences would be if Turkish allegations turn out to be true - that the 59-year-old journalist was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after entering it on October 2 to get routine paperwork for his marriage while his Turkish fiancé waited outside. Whatever took place, Corker said, "there was Saudi involvement" and "everything points to them". CCTV footage showed him entering the building. Bob Corker, who as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has reviewed US intelligence on the case, said it was likely that Khashoggi was killed the day he walked into the consulate.

Embassies and consulates under the Vienna Convention are technically foreign soil and must be protected by host nations. He walked into the consulate of Saudi Arabia, his native country, without doubting he would be safe there.

Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are allies on the US. The worldwide implications of Mr Khashoggi's disappearance deepened after the "Washington Post" reported that U.S. intelligence was aware the Saudi government was planning to kidnap the journalist.

Donald Trump says USA 'demanding' answers over disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi