Saudi consul's home searched in journalist's disappearance

Saudi consul's home searched in journalist's disappearance
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Turkish police on Wednesday searched the home of Saudi Arabia's consul general in Istanbul as part of the country's investigation into the disappearance of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The move comes after Turkey searched properties considered to be sovereign Saudi land by international law amid the investigation into the fate of Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who was last seen entering the country's consulate in Istanbul. 

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Saudi Arabian Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi left the country on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported. His departure came a day before the search of his residence and reports of a recording allegedly detailing how Khashoggi was dismembered by Saudi personnel inside the consulate.

Police officials told The Washington Post last week that such recordings of Saudi officials existed and supported the allegation that Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi personnel inside the consulate. CNN reported Tuesday that Saudi officials are preparing to announce that Khashoggi died during an interrogation.

Al-Otaibi can allegedly be heard in one of the recordings requesting that the Saudi personnel conduct Khashoggi's murder elsewhere, as he feared retribution.

“Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble," the Turkish newspaper reported al-Otaibi as saying, according to the AP.

"Shut up if you want to live when you return to [Saudi] Arabia," came the response from an unknown Saudi official.

Saudi Arabia has publicly denied any involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance or possible death, and President TrumpDonald John TrumpStates slashed 4,400 environmental agency jobs in past decade: study Biden hammers Trump over video of world leaders mocking him Iran building hidden arsenal of short-range ballistic missiles in Iraq: report MORE on Tuesday indicated that he was hesitant to blame the Saudi government. In an interview with the AP, he likened the rush to blame Riyadh to allegations of sexual assault leveled against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughHouse, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Justices appear cautious of expanding gun rights in NY case Thanks to President Trump, major tests loom for Chief Justice Roberts MORE.

"We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I'm concerned," Trump told the AP on Tuesday. "So we have to find out what happened."