U.S. denies reaching a conclusion on responsibility for Khashoggi's death

CIA says crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Khalid told Khashoggi to go to the Saudi Embassy and gave him assurances that it would be safe.

Mr Khashoggi was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October. A group of 15 Saudi officials were at the consulate when the killing took place.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency laid the blame for Khashoggi's death at the hands of Saudi authorities after reviewing evidence including a taped phone call in which the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Khaled bin Salman - younger brother of the crown prince - told Khashoggi to go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up his wedding documents and assured him that he would be safe there.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor and critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was drugged and dismembered and his remains were then removed from the consulate, the Saudi public prosecutor's office said on Thursday.

The ambassador, Prince Khalid bin Salman, swiftly denied that he had spoken with Mr Khashoggi on the phone or that he suggested he go to Turkey "for any reason".

The senior USA official told CNN on Friday the conclusion is based on a recording provided by the Turkish government and other evidence, including American intelligence.

The Saudi government has denied the claim.

"Everything points to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, MbS, ordering @washingtonpost journalist Jamal #Khashoggi's killing".

For more than a month, Trump has struggled to balance his interest in maintaining strong relations with the Saudi government with growing pressure in Congress and around the world to punish the Saudi regime.

Vice President Mike Pence told reporters traveling with him Saturday for a summit of Pacific Rim nations in Papua, New Guinea, that the "murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity". Although he was videotaped entering the consulate, he never exited the building.

Two U.S. officials said there has been no indication that officials were aware of this intelligence in advance of Khashoggi's disappearance or had missed any chance to warn him. In the tightly controlled Arab Kingdom, no "rogue operations" happen, as the Saudi government has claimed in the past.

Initially, the Saudi government claimed that Khashoggi left the consulate well and alive the same day.

Turkish officials say his murder was premeditated and carried out by a team of Saudi agents.

The prosecutor announced charges against 11 alleged participants and said he would seek the death penalty against five of them.

Earlier on Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince had "absolutely" nothing to do with Khashoggi's killing. And although alleged involvement has been widely condemned, no substantial action has been taken by any country against the Kingdom or the Crown Prince.

USA officials have said Saudi Arabia, a major oil supplier, plays an important part in countering what they see as Iran's malign role in the region, and Trump has repeatedly said he does not want to imperil U.S. arms sales to the kingdom. Mohammed has a close relationship with Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser who helps to lead the administration's Middle East strategy.

On Saturday, November 17, Trump discussed CIA's assessment on phone with the agency's director Gina Hespel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "I'll be doing that while I'm on the plane", Trump told reporters at the White House before departing on a flight to California.

"They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development", he said.

The president's scepticism has put him at odds with the findings of the CIA and senior intelligence officials.

Flying to wildfire-traumatized California on Saturday, Trump via the State Department said reports that his government had reached a final conclusion were "inaccurate".

"I want to see Yemen end".

Would the global community be satisfied by Saudi Arabia's action?

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