Turkey's government has contacted US officials, suggesting that they have the required video and audio proof to validate that the missing Saudi Arabian writer and journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered by a Saudi government-backed gang in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The officials told CBS News reporter Kylie Atwood that the Saudi government was expected to claim a mission was approved by King Salman's son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (often referred to as MBS), to interrogate Khashoggi, but not kill him.
The controversy over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who had been increasingly critical of the youthful crown prince, has dealt a huge blow to his efforts to showcase a reform drive and burnish the kingdom's image. But one thing is certain: whatever narrative emerges, the global reputation of the Saudi Crown Prince and power-behind-the-throne Mohammed Bin Salman will forever be tainted by this affair.
Saudi Arabia had no immediate comment on his departure. On Monday, sources told CNN that the report will acknowledge that Khashoggi died in a botched interrogation, one that was meant to lead to his abduction from Turkey.
While reports from Turkish officials appear to indicate that Khashoggi was murdered, President Trump has repeatedly told the press that Saudi Arabia denies any involvement with Khashoggi's disappearance. It is unclear whether the crown prince authorized an interrogation, abduction or killing.
Turkish media are quoting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as saying police investigators have searched for traces of "toxic materials" at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul where Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared two weeks ago.
The Turkish foreign ministry says police will search his official residence and vehicles belonging to the consulate.
The semiofficial Anadolu news agency said Saudi's Istanbul Consul General, Mohammed Otaibi, left the country on Tuesday.
Reuters reports the team conducted a nine-hour search of the premises, and left with evidence, including soil samples. Late in the day, there were published reports that the Saudis were preparing to concede that Khashoggi, a US -based Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, had been killed in an interrogation gone wrong.
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An investment conference seen as a platform for the crown prince and dubbed the "Davos in the Desert" which was scheduled to take place in Riyadh next week, has been hit by a string of prominent cancellations.
Trump's warning drew an angry response on Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. They suspected Khashoggi of having ties to the kingdom's arch rival, Qatar, the source said.
Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel said the Khashoggi case was "very, very concerning", although he stopped short of pronouncing the deal was dead.
Unconfirmed reports said that Khashoggi was likely killed inside the compound, a claim denied by Saudi officials as "baseless".
But he has also made clear he is reluctant to curb all-important arms sales to Saudi Arabia.
Germany, Britain and France issued a joint statement over the weekend expressing "grave concern", calling for a credible investigation to ensure those responsible for the disappearance "are held to account".
The South Carolinian also said that Saudi Arabia has "nothing but contempt" for the United States and that he's "personally offended" by their actions.
Reports overnight by USA media suggest Saudi Arabia soon may concede Khashoggi was killed at the consulate in an interrogation.