CIA: Saudi Crown Prince bin Salman ordered Khashoggi killing

A man holds a poster showing images of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman and of journalist Jamal Khashoggi describing the prince

According to CNN, citing a U.S. senior official, the Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia personally ordered the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi - who had been highly critical of the Saudi government and the Crown Prince's policies.

The Washington Post, citing unnamed sources, also reported that United States intelligence agencies have reviewed a phone call between Mr Khashoggi and the prince's brother, Khalid bin Salman.

Trump also said he wants to maintain a close alliance with Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi's death and questioned the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is known as MbS and is the kingdom's de facto ruler.

President Donald Trump speaks with Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, during their meeting Sunday, March 18, 2018, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Trump was briefed Saturday on the US investigation of the killing of Khashoggi by telephone by CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while the president was aboard Air Force One en route to California to inspect the devastation from wildfires in the western state. "I can say this: He's got many people who say he had no knowledge".

The U.S.is in possession of a tape documenting the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but President Trump doesn't plan to listen to it.

The CIA also examined an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate provided by Turkey and a phone call placed from inside the consulate after Khashoggi was killed, according to the Post. But he tells "Fox News Sunday" that "I don't want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape".

Mr Khashoggi was killed after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October.

Fatimah Baeshen, a spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, said that the claims in the CIA's "purported assessment are false".

Reporters asked Trump, as he toured fire damage in California on Saturday, about the death of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was often critical of the Saudi royal family.

He said he had never suggested Khashoggi - who had been in London for a conference until the day before his disappearance - should go to Turkey for any reason.

In the interview, Trump defended his policy on Saudi Arabia, saying "We have put on very heavy sanctions, massive sanctions on a large group of people from Saudi Arabia".

Flying to wildfire-traumatized California on Saturday, Trump via the State Department said reports that his government had reached a final conclusion were "inaccurate".

However, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said he was not satisfied with Shalaan's statement, pushing Riyadh to disclose the location of Khashoggi's remains and calling for the suspects to be tried in Turkey.

Earlier this week, Washington sanctioned 17 Saudi officials, some close to the Crown Prince, over Khashoggi's death, freezing their assets in the U.S. and refusing them entry to the country.

Earlier this week, a Saudi prosecutor exonerated the crown prince of involvement in the brutal murder.

Intelligence officials have been providing information to Trump about the death for weeks and he was briefed again by phone on Saturday by CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The president also never fails to mention that Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally - called it a "spectacular ally" on Saturday.

"We're going to have to find out what they have to say".

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