Man Who Traveled With Crown Prince Entered Consulate Before Writer Vanished

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"I keep hearing that we're giving them some benefit of the doubt", Pompeo said.

President Donald Trump is set to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Thursday to discuss Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist whose suspected murder has created a crisis that threatens the President's foreign policy priorities and is drawing attention to his potential conflicts of interest with Saudi Arabia.

"We will probably know that by the end of the week", Trump said.

Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the 33-year-old crown prince, said the USA has asked Turkey to supply any audio or video evidence.

Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider who became critical of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, wrote articles for titles including the Washington Post. But he's not confirming there is any such recording, as reported by Turkish media, and he's continuing to urge patience while Saudi Arabia says it's investigating.

The paper claimed the device captured incriminating conversations between Saudi officials as they brutalised their victim and that Mr Khashoggi can be heard screaming as his fingers are hacked off before he was "injected with an unknown drug". Khashoggi also covered the Gulf War, and his time as a foreign correspondent quickly propelled him into a successful career as a journalist and editor in Saudi Arabia. The daily reported that in another tape, an unknown individual tells Otaibi: "If you want to live when you return to Saudi Arabia, be quiet!"

Turkish police on Wednesday began searching the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul for their investigation, with forensics experts in white overalls entering the building, an AFP correspondent said.

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In an interview with Fox News, a prominent Trump ally in the Senate called on Saudi Arabia to reject the crown prince, known as MBS, who rose to power previous year and has aggressively sought to soften the kingdom's image overseas and attract foreign investment.

He claimed that Riyadh had vowed nobody would be immune from prosecution in their investigation into the incident, but Pompeo refused to say who would be held responsible by Washington.

Suspicion has been mounting over the involvement of Saudi authorities in Khashoggi's disappearance after authorities in Turkey said they believe he was murdered inside the building, an allegation the Saudis have denied. "I will not be going", he said.

One suspect, Mr Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, was a diplomat assigned to the Saudi embassy in London in 2007, it said, citing a British diplomatic roster. Saudi Arabia denies killing him.

He said it was too early to say whether he endorsed other countries' actions.

He rejected suggestions he was trying to provide cover for Saudi Arabia: "No, not at all, I just want to find out what's happening". Khashoggi went to the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents that would allow his marriage to move forward. He never emerged, with Hatice Cengiz raising the alarm over the disappearance of her fiancée.

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