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And we have investigators over there and we're working with Turkey, and frankly we're working with Saudi Arabia. But senior members of Congress with access to USA intelligence reporting feared the worst. Khashoggi contributed columns to the Post, including some critical of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said if Saudi Arabia had lured a USA resident into a consulate and killed him, "it's time for the United States to rethink our military, political and economic relationship with Saudi Arabia".

A woman speaks to security personnel at the front door of Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.

Reporters Without Borders says it and two other human rights groups have referred the case of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on October 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiance.

Turkey said Thursday it has agreed to a request by Saudi Arabia to form a joint committee to probe what happened to Khashoggi.

One U.S. official said there was no intelligence that showed the Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi to the consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said The Washington Post contributor may have been killed inside the consulate, but they haven't offered any evidence. Those reported details, along with comments from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appeared aimed at gradually pressuring Saudi Arabia to reveal what happened while also balancing a need to maintain Saudi investments in Turkey and relations on other issues.

Mr Trump said he had talked "more than once" and "at the highest levels" to partners in Saudi Arabia, which is one of Washington's closest allies and a key market for the U.S. weapons industry.

"They're spending $110 billion on military equipment and on things that create jobs. for this country". Some U.S. lawmakers want the U.S.to stop the military sales because of Saudi Arabia's alleged involvement in the case of a missing Saudi writer who vanished after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey.

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The Turkish authorities are set to conduct a search of the Istanbul consulate building after announcing that Saudi Arabia had declared itself "open to co-operation" in the investigation. He also called for at least a temporary halt in US military support for the Saudi bombing campaign against Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen. He's gone missing after entering a Saudi consulate in Turkey. Lawmakers could also throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the US scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.

The US president's desire to protect weapons sales with the Saudi monarchy could lead to a clash with congressional Republicans.

Meanwhile, Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that he has a call in to Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, who has appealed to the president and first lady Melania Trump for help.

The Virgin Group founder joined a mounting chorus of global concern about the fate of Jamal Khashoggi, who vanished last week.

The Associated Press could not confirm that report, but a US -based friend of Khashoggi said the journalist had told him he had received a call from an adviser to the Saudi royal court in late May or early June urging him to return to his homeland.

However, three US law enforcement sources said that because Khashoggi is not an American citizen and disappeared outside the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has no automatic jurisdiction to get involved in the case and could only become involved if requested by a foreign government such as Turkey.

He was asked about a Post report that USA intelligence intercepts outlined a Saudi plan to detain Khashoggi. When he was asked whether the writer's disappearance could put those ties in jeopardy, Trump said: "I have to find out what happened". But Trump is expressing reservations over calls to withhold further US arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Karen Elliott House, a veteran writer on Saudi affairs and chairwoman of the board of trustees at RAND Corp., said USA support for the Yemen war is likely to be the focus of congressional criticism but won't endanger a relationship that has endured for decades, underpinned by shared strategic interests. But they appear in jeopardy by the suggestion of a carefully plotted murder of a Saudi government critic, Jamal Khashoggi.

While the reports provide nothing definitive, they darken the picture surrounding Khashoggi's disappearance. He had been living since previous year in the U.S.in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman.

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