US diplomat calls for independent investigation into Khashoggi's death

US diplomat calls for independent investigation into Khashoggi's death
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U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Tuesday called for a independent investigation into the death of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside a Saudi consulate this month.

Grenell explained during an interview on Fox Business that the "drip drip drip of facts" about Khashoggi's death inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is "very concerning."

"I think there needs to be an independent investigation," he told host Neil Cavuto.

"We need to have assurances that what we're being told is the truth and that we can get to the bottom of it. Whoever is involved, whoever knew about it, whoever is involved in any possible way needs to be held to account."

Grenell appeared to be one of the first major Trump administration officials to call for an independent investigation into Khashoggi's death.

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The State Department responded to a request for comment from The Hill about Grenell's remarks by pointing to a speech Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoU.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack U.S. releases new photos purporting to show Iran was behind tanker attack Tensions with Iran reach new stage over uranium threat MORE delivered earlier in the day.

Pompeo announced at the State Department that the U.S. was taking steps to punish Saudi officials suspected of being involved in Khashoggi's killing earlier this month, including by revoking visas.

“We have identified at least some of the individuals responsible, including those in the intelligence services, the royal court, the foreign ministry and other Saudi ministries who we suspect to have been involved in Mr. Khashoggi’s death,” Pompeo said. “We are taking appropriate actions, which include revoking visas, entering visa lookouts and other measures.”

A number of Western countries have called for Saudi Arabia to provide more information on the death of Khashoggi, including Germany, which announced on Monday that it would halt further arms sales to Saudi Arabia, a move President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump says 'Failing New York Times' should be held 'fully accountable' over Russia report Trump tweets ICE will begin removing 'millions' of undocumented migrants MORE has himself been hesitant to take.

Saudi Arabia has been under pressure to provide more details about Khashoggi's death inside the consulate. For weeks the kingdom denied having knowledge about his whereabouts before acknowledging late last week that he was killed while claiming it happened during a "brawl."

Trump on Tuesday escalated his rhetoric about the killing, saying the kingdom's story was "the worst cover-up ever."

“I’m saying they should have never thought about it,” he said of the Saudi operation. “Once they thought about it, everything else went wrong also. It should have never happened. It should have never been done ... There should have never been an execution or a cover up."

Turkish officials have claimed that Khashoggi, who was a vocal critic of Saudi leadership, had been killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives inside the consulate.