Sen. Graham: Saudi crown prince 'has got to go' after Khashoggi's disappearance

Mike Pompeo was greeted by Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubei

Image Mike Pompeo was greeted by Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubei

A Turkish Foreign Ministry official says Turkish authorities will search the residence of the top Saudi diplomat in Istanbul over missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. He noted how the Saudi consul general opened a cupboard for a team from the Reuters news agency earlier this month "as if to say, 'See, he isn't here'". The official spoke on Tuesday on condition of anonymity in line with government regulations.

Pompeo also met with Saudi King Salman on Tuesday on Khashoggi's disappearance.

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

Turkish investigators had been poised to enter the consulate for days, however the Saudis rescinded their offer of cooperation after the identities of a "hit squad" of 15 Saudis suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's murder were leaked to the press.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting now with Saudi King Salman over the disappearance of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi.

Before leaving Riyadh, Pompeo told reporters that Saudi officials pledged they would hold any wrongdoers accountable, no matter how high their positions.

"I am immediately sending our Secretary of State to meet with King!" Saudi officials insisted the Washington Post columnish, who was often critical of the Saudi government, left the building through another exit, but have not provided evidence.

Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights chief has called for Saudi diplomatic immunity at "relevant premises" to be waived "immediately" for anyone who could be involved in Mr Khashoggi's disappearance.

Sources have told MEE that Khashoggi was tortured, murdered and dismembered after he entered the consulate on 2 October. Saudi Arabia previously called the allegation "baseless", but reports suggest the kingdom may soon acknowledge the writer was killed there.

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As for the steps Trump should take, Graham pledged that Congress would "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia".

President Donald Trump suggested Monday that "rogue killers" could be responsible for the mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an explanation offering US ally Saudi Arabia a possible path out of a global diplomatic firestorm.

On Tuesday, Turkish investigators searched the consulate building.

The sources said the interrogation was meant to lead to his enforced return to Saudi Arabia.

The telephonic talks between Trump and King Salman is being seen as an attempt by the Saudi ruler to defuse tension apparently caused by the 33-year-old Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Speaking on Monday, Donald Trump said the Saudi leader King Salman denied "any knowledge of whatever may have happened" during a phone call.

Pompeo was in the air when a Turkish police forensics team wrapped up its hourslong search of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul early Tuesday morning. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

Pompeo thanked the king for Saudi Arabia's strong partnership with the United States, Nauert said, adding that the two leaders had discussed a number of regional and bilateral issues.

US media reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia would admit that the disappearance and alleged death of Khashoggi was the result of an interrogation gone wrong. The Saudi government didn't respond to a request for comment.

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