A State Department spokeswoman said Pompeo had not heard any audio recording purporting to indicate Khashoggi was killed
US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, with US First Lady Melania Trump in Riyadh.
Washington – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he did not want to abandon ally Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and has asked for audio recordings Turkish sources say indicate he was killed by Saudi agents.
Trump said he was waiting for a full report on what had happened to Jamal Khashoggi from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, whom he sent to Saudi Arabia and Turkey to meet with officials over the disappearance of the Saudi government critic.
Trump and Pompeo are scheduled to meet at 10 a.m. (1400 GMT) on Thursday.
Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and his body removed. The Saudis have denied the allegations.
Turkish sources have told Reuters the authorities have an audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. He has not been seen since entering the building.
Turkey has not shared with the U.S. government or European allies graphic audio or video evidence, seven U.S. and European security officials told Reuters.
Two Turkish government officials contacted by Reuters declined to confirm the report.
Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the 33-year-old crown prince, said the United States has asked Turkey for any audio or video evidence.
Asked in a Fox Business Network interview if Washington could abandon Riyadh, Trump said: “I do not want to do that.” Trump reiterated his hopes that Saudi leaders were not involved in the disappearance of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident.
“I want to find out what happened, where is the fault, and we will probably know that by the end of the week,” Trump later told reporters.
“We have asked for it, if it exists … I’m not sure yet that it exists, probably does, possibly does not,” he said of the audio or video evidence.
Trump has speculated without providing evidence that “rogue killers” could be responsible.
Trump has appeared unwilling to distance himself too much from the Saudis, citing Riyadh’s role in countering Iranian influence in the region – and tens of billions of dollars in potential arms deals.
Pompeo said Riyadh should be given a few more days to complete its own probe into Khashoggi’s disappearance. He met Turkey’s president and foreign minister, a day after Trump gave Saudi Arabia the benefit of the doubt.
“They’re going to do an investigation, and when the investigation comes out we’ll evaluate it,” Pompeo told reporters traveling with him.
A State Department spokeswoman said Pompeo had not heard any audio recording purporting to indicate Khashoggi was killed.
Pompeo also said the United States must be mindful of important business and government ties with Saudi Arabia as it considers any steps once the facts have been determined.
Turkish investigators spent nearly nine hours in the Saudi consul’s residence, leaving early on Thursday, as did Saudi investigators. The search by Turkish investigators included the roof and garage and the deployment of a drone over the area.
Turkish crime scene investigators were still working at the consulate early on Thursday, using bright lights to illuminate the garden, though it was not clear what they were doing.