A team of Turkish police investigating the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has spent more than nine hours in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul, as reports circulated that the kingdom may concede the killing took place there.
"Per two sources who spoke to CNN, however, the Saudis are preparing a report admitting that they meant to abduct and bring Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, but that he was inadvertently killed in the process".
The Saudis will say the operation was carried out "without clearance" from the ruling royal family, CNN reports.
In other words: The Saudis' official defense is, reportedly, "We only wanted to torture and kidnap the dissident journalist, but the Crown Prince's friend got a little too enthusiastic, and accidentally killed him".
"Listen I am concerned", he said. He entered the consulate alone and never came out.
Turkish officials have said they fear a Saudi hit team killed and dismembered Khashoggi, who wrote columns that were critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. A police dog was part of the search team.
"The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure", an official said, according to state news agency SPA.
"Trump accepting Saudi Arabia's Khashoggi story without a thorough, independent investigation only enables authoritarian behaviour", said Senator Ed Markey.
But in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance, many media and entertainment companies have been distancing themselves from the kingdom.
Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi government critic, entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2 and then disappeared.
Following Riyadh's assertion it would retaliate, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi's disappearance "with the utmost seriousness".
A closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage shows prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul - the last time he was seen in public before his disappearance and alleged murder - to obtain identification documents while his Turkish fiancée (not pictured) waits outside in Turkey.
The furor over Khashoggi has dealt a serious setback to Prince Mohammed's aggressive pitch for the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment.
"There's something really awful and disgusting about that if that were the case", he said, referring to allegations by Turkish authorities that Saudi Arabia was involved.
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