United States President Donald Trump has said "rogue killers" may have been behind the disappearance of prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as he sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to meet with Saudi Arabia's King Salman.
Late in the day, there were published reports that the Saudis were preparing to concede that Khashoggi, a US -based Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, had been killed in an interrogation gone wrong.
President Donald Trump says he has spoken to the king of Saudi Arabia, who denies any knowledge of what happened to a Saudi journalist who visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and then disappeared and is feared dead. CNN first reported that the Saudis were planning to admit Khashoggi died in the consulate.
On Sunday, Riyadh angrily rejected political and economic "threats" over the case of the missing journalist and said it would respond to any punitive action "with a bigger one".
Asked if he had reviewed the purported recording of Khashoggi's killing, Trump told reporters on Saturday: "I have not".
Turkish officials believe Mr Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents but Riyadh has always strongly denied this.
"Trump accepting Saudi Arabia's Khashoggi story without a thorough, independent investigation only enables authoritarian behaviour", said Senator Ed Markey. But, he said, the Saudi intelligence official was tragically incompetent as he eagerly sought to prove himself in secretive operations.
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What evidence Turkish officials could gather at the consulate remained unknown.
Saudi state owned Al-Arabiya news channel delivered a bullish message to the USA and the global community in response to growing calls for sanctions against Riyadh over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. U.S. lawmakers have been demanding to scrap the $110 billion mega defence deal with the Saudis, whereas heads of several companies, CEOs, newspapers have announced not to attend an upcoming finance conference in Saudi Arabia.
The 58-year-old journalist and Washington Post contributor has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate to gather documents for marriage last week.
Just last week, Trump vowed to uncover the truth about what happened to Khashoggi and promised "severe punishment" for those responsible.
We need answers from the Saudis about Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.
On Monday, King Salman ordered an investigation into the case.
Business barons including British billionaire Richard Branson and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, as well as media powerhouses Bloomberg and CNN, have pulled out of the Future Investment Initiative (FII).
The chief executive of JPMorgan Chase & Co., Jamie Dimon, had been a featured speaker at the conference in Riyadh.