Reporters asked Trump, as he toured fire damage in California on Saturday, about the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was often critical of the Saudi royal family. The Washington Post contributor and USA resident entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and was never seen alive again.
Several news organizations including the Washington Post and New York Times reported the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's assassination in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government's claim he wasn't involved in the murder.
In the phone call, Khalid told Khashoggi that it would be safe for him to go the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents for his marriage. But it said he made the call at the direction the crown prince, and the call was intercepted by USA intelligence.
Riyadh had offered numerous contradictory explanations for his disappearance, before saying Khashoggi was killed after "negotiations" to convince him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
The U.S. had also obtained intelligence before Khashoggi's death that indicated he might be in danger.
The claim, first reported by The Washington Post, has been denied by the Saudi government. His body was dismembered and removed. A US official told CBS News Friday that USA intelligence has "high confidence" in its assessment that the crown prince ordered the killing. Two key questions however remain unanswered - where is Khashoggi's body and who ordered the murder of the 61-year-old? He was photographed entering and leaving the consulate the day Khashoggi was killed.
Mutreb called Saud al-Qahtani, a top aides to Mohammed at the time, and told him the operation was finished, according to people familiar with the call. American Media Institute CEO Richard Miniter had his doubts, "I am delighted that the killers will face justice and I doubt that even the bad swift swords of the executioners will be dramatic enough to satisfy the American and European critics of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman", Miniter told Al Arabiya English. The Saudi government denies that.
The Gulf State Analytics senior advisor noted that those who wished to continue using Khashoggi's affair, would resume their attacks against Saudi Arabia as a whole and the Crown Prince in particular.
Saudi authorities have blamed his murder on a "rogue operation".
Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Robert Jordan, who served under President George W. Bush, told NPR that the sanctions don't amount to a serious response. Prosecutors said Khashoggi was tied up and injected with an overdose of a sedative that killed him.
"We're going to have to find out what they have to say". And although alleged involvement has been widely condemned, no substantial action has been taken by any country against the Kingdom or the Crown Prince.
He added that the killing of a journalist tests the proposition that "the enemy of our enemy is our friend".
Following the reports, US Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday said Washington "is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder".
Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House on Saturday that "We haven't been briefed yet".
Saudi Arabia is America's most important ally in the Middle-East, particularly for countering Iran.
The Trump administration this past week penalized 17 Saudi officials for their alleged role in the killing. This person said Trump has repeatedly criticised how Mohammed has handled the situation and has said it is clear they are hiding facts.
"They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development", Mr Trump said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said his government has shared the audio with Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been accused of war crimes and blocking humanitarian aid. If the White House instead continues to abet the crown prince in his lies, Congress must act - swiftly and decisively. The CIA declined to comment to NPR. Do we need to do more?
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