Trump raises economic concerns over halting Saudi arms sales

Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert

But after several of his friends were arrested, his column was cancelled by the al-Hayat newspaper and he was allegedly warned to stop tweeting, Mr Khashoggi left Saudi Arabia for the US. Bob Corker and ranking member Sen.

The case has sparked outrage from human rights and journalism groups.

"It's a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation and we want to get to the bottom of it", Trump said.

The Washington Post, citing United States intelligence intercepts, reported that Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to trap Khashoggi. The Saudis deny the allegation but have not been able to provide proof that he left the consulate alive.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg News in an interview last week that Khashoggi had left the consulate shortly after entering it last week and that he was ready to let Turkey to search the building.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he addressed the disappearance of a Washington Post journalist with an unnamed senior Saudi leader at the "highest level". Aviation data analyzed by CNN backs up evidence of the planes' arrival in Istanbul.

Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, a longtime critic of the Saudi government, has said he'll try to force a vote in the Senate blocking USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

But the Saudi government asserted Khashoggi left the premises shortly after his visit and claimed they too were anxious for him.

"We are very disappointed to see what's going on. He was very honest", she said.

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Khashoggi is believed to have made trips to Europe to raise money for DAWN from Gulf state expats.

Pressure, meanwhile, mounted in Congress for the Trump administration to address the writer's disappearance.

The president then must report to the Senate within 120 days with a determination and a decision on the imposition of sanctions. However, the sides have been negotiating the nature of the visit, according to reports.

Later during an appearance in the Oval Office, Trump was much more forceful about continuing a deal with Saudi Arabia. The detailed information appeared to have been leaked to the newspaper by Turkish intelligence.

Among the lawmakers to sign the letter demanding a human rights probe was Republicans Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham and Democrats Bob Menendez and Patrick Leahy. "The administration would be foolish not to follow the law here by rejecting their request", one Senate aide told CNN. "We're probably getting closer than you might think but I have to find out what happened".

"It's a very strong signal I think from the foreign relations committee. Now, as you know, they're saying 'We had nothing to do with it.' But so far everyone's saying they had nothing to do with it". It is a forcing mechanism.

Trump also said he was looking into a meeting in the White House with Khashoggi's fiancee Hatice Cengiz.

Paul is pushing Congress to block future arms sales to Saudi Arabia. A bipartisan group of senators has forced a USA investigation to determine whether sanctions should be imposed under the Magnitsky Act.

Asked if he believed it was the Saudis, Trump responded: 'I would rather not say, but the answer is yes, ' he said. Marco Rubio, R-Florida; Ben Cardin, D-Maryland; John Barrasso, R-Wyoming; Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut; Jeff Flake, R-Arizona; Tim Kaine, D-Virginia; Cory Gardner, R-Colorado; Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts; Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia; Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon; Todd Young, R-Indiana; Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; Cory Booker, D-New Jersey; Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin; Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Jim Risch, R-Idaho; and Tom Udall, D-New Mexico.

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