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United States President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he has spoken to high-level officials from Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reported.

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a USA resident whose writings for the Washington Post were often critical of the crown prince, was killed by a team of assassins who arrived in Turkey from Saudi Arabia the same day he vanished.

"Khashoggi had good relations with American decision-making circles, so his death in this way leads to tension between U.S. -Saudi relations, which is naturally tense as a result of Trump's extortion of the Saudi leadership and the demand to pay more money on the pretext of protecting it, which upset the Saudi leadership", said Abdulhamid Qutb, an Egyptian journalist working for the Qatari Al-Sharq newspaper.

He had entered a Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul to get marriage paperwork as his fiancee waited outside and hasn't been seen since.

But the 18 others also signed the letter to send Trump a strong bipartisan message of support for a serious U.S. response to Khashoggi's disappearance, Senate aides said.

"They're [the Saudis] spending $110bn on military equipment and on things that create jobs. for this country", Trump told reporters outside the White House. "They're going to take that money and spend it in Russian Federation or China or someplace else".

The most direct call for punishing Riyadh came from Republican Senator Rand Paul, who wrote in a tweet earlier in the day that the Saudi killings of dissidents and opposition journalists won't stop unless the United States stops "arming and assisting" Riyadh. "There will have to be significant sanctions placed at the highest levels". "Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them and frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country". MBS said his country will not pay Washington for its own security, saying his oil-rich kingdom was created before the US itself. There is also an informal process in which key lawmakers can put "holds" on arm sales.

Trump, however, still described the U.S. -Saudi relationship as being "excellent", and later expressed little interest in canceling or scaling back a massive, $110 billion arms deal with the Kingdom. "That's a bad situation".

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"Yes, we're looking at it. We can not let this happen, to reporters, to anyone".

Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has been the Trump administration's point person on Saudi Arabia.

It's unclear what the USA knows about Khashoggi's disappearance, but Trump did cast some doubt on the rumors that Khashoggi was murdered.

The Saudis hoped to "lure" Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia "and lay hands on him there", the source told the Post. Picture taken September 29, 2018. He had entered the consulate in order to finalize his divorce so that he could marry his fiancée, whom he had left waiting outside the building.

'We're demanding everything, ' Trump said, asked if his team was seeking information from the Saudis - longtime allies who the Trump administration has hugged closely. "That's the responsibility of the Saudi authorities if they murdered him", Burns said.

"Because many believe that it is Trump's kind of special relation with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman which emboldens the latter to execute reckless, irresponsible and risky policies inside Saudi Arabia and outside of it", he said. A third appeared to be a special forces soldier who worked as a bodyguard to Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

Trump made Saudi Arabia the first stop on his first foreign trip as president in May 2017, but in recent weeks has appeared to sour a bit on Riyadh, complaining directly to King Salman about the cost of American support for the Saudi military and for OPEC oil price increases.

Officials in Turkey believe the critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was killed and dismembered in the consulate, and have published images of an alleged "assassination squad" and movements around the building at the time of the disappearance. A bipartisan group of senators has forced a U.S. investigation to determine whether sanctions should be imposed under the Magnitsky Act. "It is not possible for us to remain silent regarding such an occurrence, because it is not a common occurrence", he said.


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