Published: Mon, October 22, 2018
Finance | By Cynthia Curry

Mnuchin defends upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia in wake of Khashoggi killing

Mnuchin defends upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia in wake of Khashoggi killing

"This was an operation where individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had".

The Saudi king also ordered the setting up of a ministerial body under the chairmanship of the crown prince to restructure the kingdom's intelligence agency and "define its powers accurately". "There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up". Saudi Arabia has threatened to retaliate against any punitive action, but analysts say that wielding its main weapon - oil production - could backfire, putting the prince's economic goals even further out of reach.

Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker (left) says he believes Jamal Khashoggi was killed at the directive of the Crown Prince but wants to see the full investigation completed before the United States takes any action.

Erdogan has remained largely silent on the case, although Turkey's pro-government newspapers have released information detailing a 15-member team that purportedly arrived in Istanbul to confront Khashoggi at the consulate.

According to the minister, the prosecutor determined "that the reports that were originally filed were wrong, and that there was something that happened that was criminal".

Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed inside the consulate by the team of Saudi agents and his body cut up.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement issued Saturday night that the Saudis' "explanations" of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi "lack consistency and credibility".

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"I'm not calling for the overthrow of the regime, because I know it's not possible and is too risky, and there is no one to overthrow the regime", Khashoggi said.

Saudi Arabia has arrested 18 people whom they claim are connected with the incident.

Judging by the worldwide reaction to Saudi Arabia's "explanation" for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the kingdom might as well have stuck to their original story.

Describing Saudi Arabia as a "great ally", he said it has also been a tremendous investor in the US.

People close to Khashoggi and the government said Qahtani had tried to lure the journalist back to Saudi Arabia after he moved to Washington a year ago fearing reprisals for his views. The existence of such evidence has been reported in Turkish media in a series of leaks, though Turkish officials have yet to confirm they have recordings.

Mr Al-Jubeir echoed President Donald Trump's warnings against rushing to judgment against Saudi leaders, saying "there is the presumption of innocence until proven guilty", and that some have "turned that upside down".

"The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump Administration will not take the lead, Congress must", he said. Saudi Arabia ranked sixth a year ago with approved sales of 254 million euros ($292 million), mostly reflecting deliveries of patrol boats, according to a government report published in June. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said on NBC the Saudi ambassador to the US should be expelled until the matter is settled.

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