US intelligence intercepted communications between Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture journalist Jamal Khashoggi prior to his disappearance last week in Turkey in a case now roiling worldwide investigators and threatening to damage relations between Washington and Riyadh.
"At this time, I implore President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump to help shed light on Jamal's disappearance", she said. "And we're being very tough and we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia", Trump told "Fox and Friends".
Alyssa Edling, center, and Thomas Malia, second from right, both with PEN America, join others as they hold signs of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a news conference about his disappearance in Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in front of The Washington Post in Washington.
Mr Trump said he had spoken with the Saudis about what he called a "bad situation", but he did not disclose details of his conversations.
The fact that the Saudis under MBS, with Trump and Kushner's encouragement, can target an Establishment, non-dissident, ex-govt, mildly-critical-of-MBS Saudi public figure in this brutal & brazen way speaks volumes about what they think they can get away with - and do!More news: International Monetary Fund raises Japan growth forecast, cuts global estimate due to trade tension
The outcry from lawmakers of both parties, including Republican allies of Trump, foreign policy analysts, former USA officials and leading media commentators who knew Khashoggi, has intensified pressure on the White House to take a hard line. Saudi royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert were part of a 15-member team from the kingdom that targeted Khashoggi, Turkish media reported Thursday. Yet Jamal did not think the Saudis could force him to stay at the consulate in Turkey, even if they wanted to arrest him.
It gives the White House 120 days to "determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression" and to report back to the Foreign Relations Committee with a decision on how it plans to act.
USA intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Khashoggi before he vanished, according to the Post, which cited two people familiar with the information.
Turkish officials say they fear Saudi Arabia killed and dismembered Khashoggi, without offering evidence explaining why they believe that.
But Turkish officials declined to go on record as Turkey tries to manage its hard relationship with regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia.
Trump made Saudi Arabia the first stop on his first foreign trip as president in May 2017, but in recent weeks has appeared to sour a bit on Riyadh, complaining directly to King Salman about the cost of American support for the Saudi military and for OPEC oil price increases.More news: Nick Kyrgios rows with umpire during Shanghai Masters first-round exit
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to get documents for his forthcoming marriage.
The prominent Saudi journalist and critic of the regime has been missing for more than a week after going to the Saudi consulate general in Istanbul to obtain wedding papers. The newspaper also quoted an unidentified senior Turkish official as saying the Saudis weren't allowing a proper investigation in the consulate.
But Sydney University global law professor Ben Saul said Australia could expel a diplomat if Saudi intelligence were to blame for Mr Khashoggi's death, whereas if the ruling family had a hand, Australia could enforce targeted sanctions. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before.
The Kentucky Republican said he hopes Trump will support stronger measures against Saudi Arabia "if there is any evidence they killed this journalist".
Stakes are high in the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, and Mr Trump is one of many Western leaders to stand by the kingdom's young leader Mohammed bin Salman.More news: Download The Pixel 3’s Google Camera, Complete With RAW Support & New UI