WaPo, NYT Rip Trump For Not Going After Saudis Now

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi

President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied covering up for ally Saudi Arabia in the suspected murder of a critical journalist and said that he expects to learn the truth about Jamal Khashoggi's fate within days.

Meanwhile, Trump has taken a tougher stance on Saudi Arabia, saying "it certainly looks like" the missing journalist is dead, something that could lead to "severe" consequences.

Saudi Arabia's state-run news agency said King Salman now had a proposal on the "urgent need" to restructure the kingdom's intelligence services after Khashoggi's slaying.

This comes in the midst of the worldwide outcry over the disappearance and probable murder of Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi regime, Jamal Khashoggi, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

Other Western allies have yet to react to Riyadh's explanation and a main question will be whether they believe that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has painted himself as a reformer, has no culpability.

Saudi Arabia's acknowledgment of Khashoggi's death comes after The Washington Post reported on October 10 that MBS had personally ordered an effort to lure the journalist back to Saudi Arabia.

Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) says the alleged murder and brutal dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by his own Saudi government and ongoing war crimes in Yemen should be the final straws in allowing the powerful Gulf monarchy to claim the U.S.as a friend and partner.

Pompeo said there are "a lot of stories out there about what has happened" to Khashoggi, but he declined to speculate on the outcome of investigations in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

The search of the consul's residence came 15 days after Khashoggi's disappearance - and after police apparently thought they would be able to conduct the search on Tuesday.

While Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of the murder in Istanbul of Khashoggi, a USA -based writer who has been critical of Saudi leaders, Trump has cautioned against a rush to judgment against an important Mideast ally.

But Pompeo also stressed the "long strategic relationship" that the USA has with Saudi Arabia, and described the country as an "important counter-terrorism supporter". It also put further strains on the relationship between the kingdom, the world's largest oil exporter, and its main security guarantor, the United States, as tensions with Iran and elsewhere in the Middle East remain high.

Turkish forensic police depart after searching evidence at the Saudi consulate on October 18, 2018 in Istanbul.

Khashoggi's editors at the Post described him as a "committed, courageous journalist" and "one of the leading proponents of freedom and democratic change" for Saudi Arabia and the surrounding region.

As well as visiting the Saudi mission, the suspect is seen at the consul's official residence, checking out of a hotel and at Istanbul's Ataturk airport leaving Turkey later the same day.

A close aide to the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was also reportedly dismissed.

Turkish media have provided a steady stream of information suggesting Khashoggi was tortured and decapitated by a Saudi hit squad inside the consulate, although Turkey has yet to divulge details about the investigation.

Khashoggi, a Saudi national who was also a legal U.S. resident with a green card, had been living in Virginia.

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