The latest on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

8:07 p.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Saudis confirm death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Saudi Arabia has confirmed the death of missing Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in an announcement on Saudi State TV.

The Saudis have set up a commission, led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that will restructure the Saudi general intelligence directorate, the Saudi Press Agency reported. That report is scheduled to be released in one month. The commission will consist of national security officials, the foreign ministry and the interior ministry.

Discussions between Khashoggi and those who met him during arrival at the consulate in Istanbul led to a quarrel and physical altercation that led to his death, the state TV report said.

A total of 18 Saudi nationals have now been detained for investigation, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

A royal order has also been issued to release Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Asir from his duty as the deputy of the intelligence services, according to the announcement.

7:45 p.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Saudi intelligence official was relieved of his duties

A royal order has been issued to release Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Asir from his duty as the deputy of the intelligence services, according to an announcement on Saudi State TV.

Asiri was believed to be the chief architect of the war with Yemen. He was previously the Saudi-led coalition spokesman in the kingdom's war against Yemen's Houthi rebels.

The two-star general's position as spokesman made him a household name and he was soon part of the Crown Prince's inner circle.

According to several sources, he chose the team involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

5:52 p.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Turkish President calls Saudi King over journalist's disappearance

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia's King Salman spoke Friday evening about the “continuation of full cooperation” in the investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The leaders also “exchanged information about the progress of the ongoing investigations in both countries,” according to Anadolu.

Anadolu did not provide any other details.

4:16 p.m. ET, October 19, 2018

President Trump says he's going to have answers soon in Khashoggi's disappearance

President Trump said he would have answers "pretty quickly" in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We’re going to have some answers pretty quickly," he said in Arizona, saying he would soon learn "who knew what, when and where." 

"We’re going to know over the next two or three days, we’re going to know a lot," he told reporters. "I might know a lot by Monday. I know a lot already."

He insisted he was not waiting too long to enact sanctions or punishment on Saudi Arabia.

"I think waiting two days and making sure everything’s right is not so bad," he said. "We’ve done a lot of work on this."

10:41 a.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Why President Trump doesn't want to punish Saudi Arabia

Trump (R) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20.
Trump (R) shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump White House may have too much at stake to make Saudi Arabia pay a proportionate price for the apparent murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

For multiple geopolitical and domestic political reasons, the administration has far more to gain from helping engineer a face-saving exit for itself and its ally from its biggest foreign policy crisis in nearly two years in office than by making an example of the Saudis in a belated stand for human rights.

Here's a few reasons why:

  • The kingdom forms the foundation of President Trump's Middle East policy, and a decision to severely punish its rulers could spark an estrangement that would cripple his hopes of confronting Iran.
  • It would also weaken Washington's strategic position in the region and offer an opening to rival powers. 
  • Back home, a chill with the Saudis would mean Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner would lose considerable political face after investing significant capital in wooing the royal court.

Read more from CNN's Stephen Collinson here.

10:13 a.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Saudi Consulate staffers give statements to Turkish prosecutor

Members of the Saudi Consulate staff are giving their statements in the Jamal Khashoggi case to Turkey's Public Prosecutor’s Office in Istanbul, according to Turkish state broadcaster TRT. 

The 15 consulate workers — including a consulate driver and the phone operator — are giving their statements as witnesses, according to TRT. All 15 are Turkish nationals, according to state news outlet Anadolu.  

8:05 a.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Turkish official: “Out of the question” that Turkey gave US audio recording

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has denied a report that Turkey had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (or any other US official) with an audio recording relating to the alleged murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

That Turkey has given Pompeo or any American official any audio recording is out of the question,” Cavusoglu told reporters Friday.

What is this recording? Previously, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN that Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that showed Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate. The evidence, which was described to the source by a Western intelligence agency, showed there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate, along with the moment Khashoggi was killed, the source said.

What Pompeo is saying: Earlier Friday, the Secretary of State told reporters, "I've heard no tape, I've seen no transcript."

7:14 a.m. ET, October 19, 2018

Turkey will release results of Khashoggi probe to the world, foreign minister says

Turkey will share the results of the probe into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the world, the country's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Friday.

Speaking to reporters, Cavusoglu said the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s office is waiting on lab results after searching the Saudi consulate, residence and several vehicles.

While Cavusolgu emphasized that the findings will be made publicly available, he made it clear they will not do so until all the facts have been gathered.

“We will share the findings with the entire world. There is no question we are going to share this info or that info to some countries, but right now Turkey is managing this case, which the world is recognizing.”

6:57 a.m. ET, October 19, 2018

UK Foreign Secretary says alleged Saudi killing of Khashoggi is "unacceptable"

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Friday allegations around the disappearance and apparent killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are “totally inconsistent” with Britain’s values and beliefs, and would be “unacceptable for the United Kingdom.”

“What is alleged to have happened is totally inconsistent with our values and what we believe in, and not just the brutality of it – if it happened – but also the fact that he was a journalist,” Hunt said in an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Friday. 

While the foreign minister asserted that the British government is “extremely concerned,” its response to Saudi Arabia would have to be “considered” in respect of the strategic relationship between both states.

“Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered because we have to recognize in that strategic relationship that they share intelligence with us that helps us keep people safe in the streets of Britain,” Hunt said.

“We have a very strict Arms Sale Control Mechanism and let’s be clear -- we don’t just sell arms to anywhere that we can make money,” Hunt added.