President Donald Trump said Wednesday the U.S.is "demanding" answers from Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of a well-known Saudi writer and government critic Turkish authorities say was slain inside his country's diplomatic mission in Istanbul. A US intelligence source told the New York Times that USA intelligence had intercepted communications of Saudi agents discussing a plot to either capture or kill Khashoggi. "That's why I want to say, we don't want to make any judgments about what happened, and we call for a thorough and transparent investigation". He also said the USA. was working "very closely" with Turkey, "and I think we'll get to the bottom of it".
In the Oval Office early Wednesday afternoon, Trump told reporters it was "a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation".
Under pressure from Congress, the Trump administration faces a dilemma: how to respond to the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi while ensuring that any punitive action does not alienate Riyadh, a key ally against Iran.
"Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and frankly, I think that would be very, very tough pill to swallow for our country".
Saudi Arabia denies involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance, and the Trump's administration's response has been far more cautious than that coming from Capitol Hill. The Post's source added it was unclear how the Saudi's planned on handling Khashoggi after receiving him or if the USA warned him that he was targeted.
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".
Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate and his body removed.
A critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Mr Khashoggi was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. and writing opinion pieces for the Washington Post before his disappearance. I texted a few friends to inform them, and I asked about Jamal at the consular building. The administration also relies on Saudi support for its Middle East agenda to counter Iranian influence, fight extremism and support an expected peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians. The silent video also showed one of two private Gulfstream jets that Turkish media said carried the Saudi group, who flew in and out of Istanbul the day Khashoggi disappeared.
In a letter to Trump Wednesday, senators invoked the Global Magnitsky Act of 2016, calling for an investigation in the case of Jamal Khashoggi, who hasn't been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week.
Khashoggi was a prominent critic of the Saudi government and Mohammed in particular, the Post noted.
Since 2009, the executive branch has notified Congress of proposed foreign military sales to Saudi Arabia of major defense articles and services with a potential aggregate value of almost $139 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report.
Paul also cited Saudi Arabia's intervention in neighboring Yemen's civil war.
Turkey says it will conduct a search of the Istanbul consulate, while Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry said the country was "open to co-operation" and a search of the building could go ahead. The video later shows some of the men leaving a hotel near the Saudi consulate and Khashoggi entering the consulate.