Raw Politics: Saudi Arabia facing increasing questions over Khashoggi disappearance

Government sources said at the weekend that police believed Khashoggi was killed by a team specially sent to Istanbul

It was unclear from this whether Saudi Arabia wanted to then kill him or arrest him, or if USA officials made Khashoggi aware of this, the source said.

"We don't know what happened", he said.

"I think we'll get to the bottom of it", said Trump.

The reported details, coupled with more-direct comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appear aimed at gradually pressuring Saudi Arabia to reveal what happened to Khashoggi, while also balancing Ankara's need to maintain the kingdom's investments in Turkey and relations on other issues.

In the Oval Office early Wednesday afternoon, Trump told reporters it was "a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation".

"Australia is deeply concerned about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi", Ms Payne said in a statement from Papua New Guinea, where she was travelling.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said national security adviser John Bolton and presidential senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke on Tuesday to the crown prince about Khashoggi.

The Washington Post cited several of Khashoggi's friends as saying that the prominent journalist had over the past months had been asked by senior Saudi officials close to return back home from the United States, offering him "protection" and "even a high-level job".

The footage shows some of the Saudis leaving a hotel and Khashoggi entering the consulate, walking past a black Mercedes van with diplomatic plates parked adjacent to the entrance.

Paul said he hopes Khashoggi's disappearance " motivates everybody to reassess our kinship and everything we do with Saudi Arabia".

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Responding to Saudi claims that the cameras were not functioning on October 2, Erdoğan said this was not a logical explanation. Suspicions are mounting that Saudi's crown prince ordered the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey.

A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, USA intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.

Turkish officials say a Saudi security team lay in wait for the journalist, and then killed and dismembered him.

The Trump administration is left with an awkward lack of information about a widely respected writer who had been living in self-imposed exile in the USA for the past year after fleeing a crackdown on intellectuals and activists in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, however, has been a major USA ally in the Middle East since WWII, including serving as the launching pad for the 1991 Gulf War and, most recently, as the linchpin of regime change efforts directed against Iran and Syria. "Is that in jeopardy now, good relations with Saudi Arabia?"

Turkish media have identified 15 Saudis, including some officials, who made a mysterious one-day trip from Riyadh to Istanbul the day Khashoggi vanished at the consulate.

Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and Mohammed in particular, the Post noted.

Corker described his talks with Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, as "not a great conversation", and asked to show him video footage of him leaving the consulate.

He added, "The Saudis continue to claim that they aren't targeting civilians inside Yemen, but how can we believe them when they apparently just hunted down and murdered an American resident whose only offense was writing critical articles about the Saudi royal family?"

Khashoggi's disappearance is likely to further deepen divisions between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

"Saudi Arabia is a key partner in the global fight against terrorism and transnational crime", an AUSTRAC spokesman said, citing "strict provisions" against releasing information that went against Australia's policies or aims. The administration's Middle East agenda heavily depends on the Saudis, including efforts to counter Iranian influence in the region, fight extremism and build support for an expected plan for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

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