Donald Trump says US to report who killed Jamal Khashoggi in 'next two days'

File photo of US President Donald Trump. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 18, 2018, 06.35 AM (IST)

A day after Central Investigation Agency reportedly concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, President Donald Trump has said that the United States would determine the killer Saudi critic "within the next two days."

Speaking to reporters in Malibu, California after surveying damage from wildfires, Trump said a "full report" on "who did it" would be completed by Monday or Tuesday, AFP reported.

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul, contradicting the conclusions of a Saudi prosecutor a day earlier, which exonerated the prince of involvement in the brutal murder.

However, on Saturday, the state department spokesperson Heather Nauert said that US government has not reached a final conclusion over the killing and reports indicating that are "inaccurate".

"There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. The State Department will continue to seek all relevant facts," she said. 

She further said that in the meantime, the US will continue to consult and Congress and work with other nations to hold accountable those who were involved in the killing, adding that Washington had already taken "decisive measures" against individuals, including visa and sanctions actions. 

"We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those accountable who planned, led and were connected to the murder. And, we will do that while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia."

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence also vowed that the US would hold the murderers to account as he decribed the Khashoggi's killing as an atrocity and  "affront to a free and independent press" but declined to comment on classified information.

"We are going to follow the facts," said Pence. However, he also added the US wanted to find a way of preserving a "strong and historic partnership" with Saudi Arabia.

Khashoggi, a Post columnist, had gone to the consulate to obtain documents necessary to marry his Turkish fiancee.

Saudi Arabia -- which quickly dismissed the reported CIA findings -- has repeatedly changed its official narrative of the October 2 murder, first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts and later saying he was killed when an argument degenerated into a fistfight.

In the latest version presented by the Saudi prosecutor on Thursday, a 15-member squad was formed to bring Khashoggi back from Istanbul "by means of persuasion" -- but instead ended up killing the journalist and dismembering his body in a "rogue" operation.

(With inputs from news agencies)

Story highlights

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that the CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.