Why Trump doesn't want to punish Saudi Arabia

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He also dismissed media reports that Turkey has shared audio recordings from Khashoggi's disappearance with United States officials, saying Turkey did not give anyone or any country the recording.

Turkish officials say Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb flew into Istanbul on a private jet along with an "autopsy expert" October 2 and left that night.

Mr Pompeo said the Saudis should be given a few more days to finish and make public a credible investigation before the USA decides "how or if" to respond.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced, "We have decided I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia".

The president of the United States, who has long referred to journalists as enemies of the people, celebrated an act of violence against a reporter on US soil - to cheers and laughter from his supporters.

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A source familiar with the Turkish investigation has told CNN that Saudi intelligence officer and former diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb played a "pivotal role" in the apparent assassination of Khashoggi.

While Turkish officials have accused Saudi Arabia of the murder in Istanbul of Khashoggi, a US-based writer who has been critical of Saudi leaders, Trump has cautioned against a rush to judgment against an important Mideast ally. Whether any of the pushback and outrage will lead to any rethinking of the U.Sadministration's's approach to Saudi Arabia, however, remains to be seen.

Axios co-founder Mike Allen told Dana Perino that Pompeo warned Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman that the kingdom would only have 72 hours to complete a promised investigation.

Trump on Thursday acknowledged Khashoggi likely is dead.

A report by the Washington Post - for which Khashoggi was a contributor - said Thursday that Trump-allied House Republicans are digging up right-wing dirt on the journalist in an effort to somehow lessen the significance of his death for USA foreign policy.

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The official told The Associated Press that police have established that two vehicles belonging to the consulate left the building on October 2 - the day Khashoggi had walked into the consulate and vanished. "It's very sad", the president said, adding that if Saudi Arabia is to blame, it will face consequences. "They spend $40 million, $50 million", he said at a rally in Mobile, Alabama, in August 2015.

"I told President Trump this morning that we ought to give them a few more days to complete that so we can get a complete understanding [of] the facts surrounding that", he told reporters.

Mr Khashoggi went to the consulate seeking documents for his planned marriage to his Turkish fiancee, who was waiting outside and was never seen again.

Conservative online broadcast CR-TV said Tuesday that Khashoggi was a "longtime friend" of terrorists, outright claiming that Trump was being targetted by an "insane" media conspiracy to smear him. The prince is next in line for the throne held by his aged father King Salman.

Pro-government Turkish daily Yeni Safak reported it had heard audio recordings of Khashoggi being tortured during an interrogation, having his fingers cut off and then being decapitated.

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Pompeo told reporters that he advised Trump that Saudi Arabia should be given a few more days to complete its investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi, which has caused an global outcry and strained Saudi relations with western countries and corporations.

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