Saudi crown prince says does not know what happened in consulate

Turkish forensic police officers leave after gathering evidence at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul early on October 18

"We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned".

The president also told Fox News if the Saudi King or Crown Prince knew what had happened to the writer, "that would be bad".

The 59-year-old, who wrote critically about the Saudis for the Washington Post, disappeared on October 2 after travelling to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork he need to get married.

Paul also declares in the interview, as he has often declared before, his opposition to the U.S. policies of being "a close ally with Saudi Arabia" and providing military aid to Saudi Arabia for its ongoing war on Yemen - policies Graham has supported. The Saudis have strongly denied the claim.

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.

Khashhoggi's disappearance has created a flurry of criticism against Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was seen by some as a populist reformer.

He added that the crown prince "told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly", Trump said.

"I've been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate", Graham said. The head of Forensic Evidence at the Saudi General Security Department was reportedly one of the 15 alleged suspects who flew from the Saudi capital of Riyadh on the day of Khashoggi's disappearance, and visited the consulate before leaving the country within hours. "I feel used and abused", Graham said.

NBC News reported Tuesday one possibility for Khashoggi's disappearance is rogue operatives accidentally killed Khashoggi during an interrogation at the consulate. "Saudi Arabia, if you're listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself". The president told the AP on Tuesday that that description was informed by his "feeling" from his conversation with Salman and that the king did not use the term. He will travel to Turkey on Wednesday for talks with Turkish officials about Khashoggi. The secretary of state noted that the Saudi leaders, while denying knowledge of anything that occurred inside the consulate, had committed to accountability "including for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials".

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"My assessment from these meetings is that there is serious commitment to determine all the facts and ensure accountability, including accountability for Saudi Arabia's senior leaders or senior officials". Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said earlier on Tuesday that Turkish officials would extend their investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance to include the residence of the Saudi consul and some vehicles.

On Monday, however, Trump offered a different theory after speaking by telephone with King Salman.

Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post contributor, disappeared from the Saudi consulate after visiting to obtain documents for his upcoming wedding.

"My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting over them", Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The source confirmed that Saudi Consul General Mohammad al-Otaibi left Istanbul on Tuesday, returning to Riyadh. She and Turkish authorities say he never emerged and he has not been heard from since.

Sources claimed that Khashoggi was beaten, drugged, and eventually killed in the Saudi consul general's office.

Indicating unease over the Khashoggi case, global media and business executives are pulling out of an investment conference next week.

Now Saudi Arabia has joined the list of countries where Graham has demanded regime change.

Saudi Arabia has said it would retaliate against any pressure or economic sanctions.

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