Suspects in journalist's disappearance linked to Saudi crown prince: report

Suspects in journalist's disappearance linked to Saudi crown prince: report
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Several suspects that Turkish authorities have identified in the disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi have been linked to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or his security detail, according to a new report.

One of the suspects identified by Turkish authorities was Crown Prince Mohammed's travel companion, seen exiting planes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during visits to Houston, Boston and the United Nations this year, The New York Times reports.

Witnesses and other records have linked three other suspects in Khashoggi's disappearance to the crown prince's security detail, while a fifth suspect has top positions in the country's Interior Ministry and medical establishment, according to the Times.

The newspaper reported that the fifth suspect is "a figure of such stature that he could be directed only by a high-ranking Saudi authority."

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After speaking with him, President Trump said Tuesday that the crown prince "totally denied any knowledge" of Khashoggi's fate.

The U.S.-based journalist, who has been critical of Saudi leadership, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Turkish authorities have accused the Saudi government of killing and dismembering Khashoggi inside the consulate.

Trump suggested on Monday after speaking with Saudi Arabia's King Salman that "rogue killers" may be responsible for the death of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia is one of the United States's top allies in the Middle East, while Turkey has allied itself with Russia and Iran.

However, Saudi Arabia has faced criticism over its human rights record, and U.S. lawmakers have pushed the Trump administration to apply pressure on Riyadh and institute sanctions should the country be found responsible for Khashoggi's disappearance. 

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamNew Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes Graham: 'US must be willing to intervene in Venezuela' Trump Jr. slams Republican committee chairman: 'Too weak to stand up to the Democrats' MORE (R-S.C.), one of the president's most vocal allies in the Senate, promised Tuesday to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia" and blamed the crown prince for Khashoggi's disappearance.

"This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered," Graham said. "To expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused."

Trump has promised to bring down "severe punishment" on the Saudis if they are proven to have been involved in Khashoggi's apparent death.