Senators compel Trump to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance

Successful reformation in Saudi Arabia far from a sure thing

More than 20 Republicans and Democratic senators on Wednesday instructed Trump to order a probe into Khashoggi's disappearance under legislation that authorizes imposition of sanctions for perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, torture or other gross human rights violations.

Pressure, meanwhile, mounted in Congress for the Trump administration to address the writer's disappearance.

But the Australian government resisted attempts by the Senate to discover what, if any, weapons had been traded, while the Saudi embassy denied any arms had been dealt.

A separate Post report on Wednesday said that USA officials intercepted communications between Saudi officials before he went missing on 2 October discussing plans to capture Khashoggi and lure him back to Saudi Arabia.

Turkish authorities have privately said they believe Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the consulate.

Trump said Khashoggi's fiancée had sent him a letter and may come to the White House soon. Turkish officials fear the team killed Khashoggi, who wrote critically of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also said the USA was working "very closely" with Turkey, "and I think we'll get to the bottom of it". "We do not like seeing what's going on".

Trump added: "Nobody knows what happened yet. We can not let this happen, to reporters, to anyone". He'd been living in the United States in self-imposed exile.

A bipartisan group of USA senators is forcing the Trump administration to investigate the disappearance of a Saudi journalist, triggering a human rights probe that could result in sanctions against Saudi officials and entities.

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Corker said that he had warned the kingdom that its political support in the Senate is "the lowest ever" and that if Saudi officials are responsible for Kashoggi's disappearance, "this would drop it off a cliff". Corker said "everything points to them".

Khashoggi had written a series of columns for the Washington Post that were critical of Saudi Arabia's assertive Prince Mohammed, who has led a widely publicised drive to reform the conservative Sunni monarchy but has also presided over the arrests of activists and businessmen.

Turkish police say he was murdered inside the consulate by a 15-member Saudi team that flew into the country just ahead of Khashoggi's scheduled appointment, and left the same day, according to Turkish government sources.

Around the time Khashoggi entered the consulate, a second private plane from Riyadh took off for Istanbul.

The video then cuts away to traffic outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul's upscale 4th Levent neighborhood, showing vehicles with green diplomatic license plates. But they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the US scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

Almost two hours later, the video shows two vehicles with diplomatic plates -a luxury black sedan and a black Mercedes VITO van- leave through the police barricades outside the consulate.

But the Post reported that the Saudis haven't presented any evidence he left the building and say that their video cameras weren't recording at the time.

Turkish security sources told TRT World that the "hit squad" took CCTV footage from the consulate with them when they left Turkey. Under the Vienna Convention, foreign diplomatic missions are sovereign territory and a host country can not enter without permission. "If Donald Trump is not getting in touch with the king of Saudi Arabia, he is being derelict in his duty....(Trump's) statements, so far, have been completely inadequate".

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