Saudis preparing to admit Jamal Khashoggi died during interrogation, sources say

US Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin taking an ear piece out during a joint press conference with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble in Berlin Germany 16 March 2017

Turkish officials have said they have audio and video that proves Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. He will meet King Salman and Jubeir before dinner with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, according to reporters traveling with him. Technicians in coveralls, gloves and covered shoes treated the diplomatic mission as a crime scene during their hours-long search. It was not immediately clear what evidence they gathered.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump threatened "severe punishment" if it is determined that Saudi Arabia is behind the journalist's disappearance.

Aldakhil pointed out that due the economic muscle of Saudi Arabia, which is the destination of ten per cent of the weapons manufactured in the United States and is one of the top 20 economies, Riyadh will have as many as 30 different options "without flinching an eye if sanctions are imposed on it".

The comments marked a break from the Trump administration's strenuous refusal to speculate over what happened to Khashoggi and came as the USA president is under growing pressure to take action on the case of the Saudi writer, who was a contributor to The Washington Post and wrote columns critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Baird, a former Conservative foreign affairs minister, went on Al Arabiya English and criticized Freeland's handling of Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia.

The statements published on Sunday and Monday took aim at worldwide governments and news organizations, accusing them of undermining Saudi Arabia's reputation without evidence and warning them against violating Saudi sovereignty. The network cited two anonymous sources, one of whom cautioned the report could change.

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Saudi Arabia has pledged to retaliate economically for any United States punitive action. Pompeo was due to arrive in the kingdom on Tuesday morning for his meeting with the king.

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Alhadj noted that "even though we don't know for sure, with concrete evidence, what happened, it's not unprecedented". His fiancée, who was waiting outside, said he never left the building.

"It depends on how well they cleaned it up", Prinz told The Associated Press. "Obviously, he is very, very serious".

In Istanbul, meanwhile, investigators entered the consulate for their own investigation. A police dog was part of the search team. "That's going to be a problem".

A cleaning crew walked into the consulate hours ahead of the investigative team's arrival.

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About 38,000 people signed a petition, organised by campaign group Republic, against taxpayers' money being spent on the occasion. The Dean of Windsor will officiate the ceremony while Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli will perform during the service.

Turkey has wanted to search the consulate for days.

Journalist work in front of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The New York Times reported that a top forensic and autopsy expert was among those who traveled to Turkey. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.

Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened "to our Saudi Arabian citizen". The event is meant to showcase Prince Mohammed bin Salman's modernisation plan for the desert kingdom.

Last week, an anonymous Turkish official alleged that 15 Saudi operatives had flown into the country, bringing with them a doctor and a bone saw with which to dismember Khashoggi's body and smuggle it out of the consulate building.

King Salman has replaced two crown princes in the past. The interrogation was meant to lead to his abduction from Turkey, the news channel said citing two unnamed sources.

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired on Sunday, Trump said there would be consequences if it turned out Saudi Arabia had anything to do with Khashoggi's disappearance.

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