Rubio: Human rights pillar of our foreign policy

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) tells CNN's John Berman that if Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, there would be consequences from Congress.

Posted: Oct 13, 2018 1:14 PM
Updated: Oct 13, 2018 1:44 PM

Turkish authorities have audio and visual evidence that shows journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul just over a week ago, a source familiar with the ongoing investigation told CNN.

The source, who was briefed by a Western intelligence agency, says the evidence showed there had been an assault and a struggle inside the consulate. There is also evidence of the moment that Khashoggi was killed, the source said.

The foreign intelligence service was shocked by the nature of the evidence, provided in a briefing from Turkish officials, the source told CNN.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, walked into the consulate in Istanbul on October 2 intending to get paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée. He hasn't been seen in public since.

Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in his disappearance and says he left the consulate that afternoon. His fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside, says she did not see him re-emerge. Turkey has called on Saudi officials to provide evidence that he left the consulate, as they claim.

The Washington Post reported late Thursday that the Turkish government had told US officials that it was in possession of audio and video recordings proving that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate, citing unnamed US and Turkish sources.

The audio recording in particular provided "persuasive and gruesome evidence" that a Saudi team dispatched to Istanbul was responsible for Khashoggi's death, the Post reported.

"You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic," one person with knowledge of the recording told the Post. "You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered."

International pressure has mounted on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the regime and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The business world has also signaled its disquiet, with British tycoon Richard Branson saying he's pulling back from two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and has suspended discussions with Riyadh about a $1 billion investment in Virgin's space companies. Business leaders have also started pulling out of a key conference hosted by MBS in late October.

CNN confirmed Friday that it too would no longer participate in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative conference, known as "Davos in the desert." CNN was a media partner for the event.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told broadcaster CNBC he still planned to attend the Riyadh summit despite concerns about Khashoggi's status.

Focus on 15 men

Turkish authorities believe 15 Saudi men who arrived in Istanbul on October 2 were connected to Khashoggi's disappearance and possible murder. At least some of them appear to have high-level connections in the Saudi government.

On Thursday, a US official familiar with the intelligence told CNN that the US had intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him.

Washington's "working assumption" is that Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate in Istanbul, according to a US official familiar with the latest intelligence. "We are pretty clear eyed it is likely to have happened and it didn't end well," the official said. The source did caution that this was the latest assessment and no conclusions had been made.

A source who knows Khashoggi told CNN that Saudi authorities made several attempts to reach out to Khashoggi in 2017, including proposing he lead a think tank funded by the state. The source says that Khashoggi rejected the ideas and over the following months his much sharper criticism of the government, in its domestic policy and relating to the crisis with Qatar, ended any dialogue.

The source, who maintains high-level contact inside the kingdom, says that senior figures in the Royal Court in Riyadh were especially infuriated by Khashoggi's criticism of the decision by the Saudi authorities to classify in September 2017 the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi as terrorists. At the same time, the source says, Khashoggi became more wary of returning to the kingdom.

Three days before his disappearance, Khashoggi -- speaking to a BBC journalist in an off-air conversation after a radio interview -- said he did not think he would ever be able to return to Saudi Arabia.

Asked when he might be able to go home again, Khashoggi says: "I don't think I'll be able to."

The BBC several days ago said it decided to publish the off-air conversation "in light of the current circumstances."

"When I hear of an arrest of a friend who did nothing... makes me feel I shouldn't go," Khashoggi is heard saying. "That friend of mine... maybe he was talking critically over something at a dinner party. That's what we are becoming in Saudi Arabia, we are not used to that, we never experienced [this]," he added.

A delegation from Saudi Arabia has arrived in the Turkish capital, Ankara, for the investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported Friday.

Trump rules out immediate action on arms sales

US President Donald Trump has said his administration was being "very tough" with Saudi Arabia as it investigates Khashoggi's case.

But Trump said Thursday that he was reluctant to take action, particularly on the issue of arms sales. "There are other things we can do," he told reporters at the White House.

"I don't like the concept of stopping an investment of $110 billion into the United States because you know what they're going to do, they're going to take that money and spend it in Russia or China," Trump said, referring to a US arms deal with Saudi Arabia. "If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling the situation."

The US signed a nearly $110 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia in May 2017, when Trump made Saudi Arabia a stop on his first foreign trip as president. The stop was seen, in part, as an endorsement of the strong relationship between Trump, Jared Kushner -- his son-in-law and senior adviser -- and bin Salman.

France's Foreign Ministry said it had demanded that Saudi Arabia provide a "complete and detailed response" with regard to the reported killing of Khashoggi, whose disappearance "raises serious questions about his fate."

"France demands that the facts are clearly established," the ministry said.

Gulf Arab states came out in support of Saudi Arabia, however, in the first wave of official reactions from its neighbors.

In a tweet Thursday, the United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister, Anwar Gargash, called media reports on the matter "a fierce campaign" run in coordination with "inciting parties."

"The repercussions of political targeting of Saudi Arabia will be dire on those who inflame it," he said.

Bahrain's Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmad, said that "Saudi Arabia is the target, not the search for truth."

Turkish investigation

Saudi officials had agreed to allow Ankara to inspect the consulate as part of Turkey's investigation into the missing journalist. But it was not clear Friday whether this inspection had taken place. A senior Turkish official speaking on the condition of anonymity had previously told CNN that "the Saudis are not cooperating fully with the investigation. They are not open to cooperating."

Sabah, a pro-government private newspaper in Turkey, on Tuesday listed 15 names alongside photographs of men who authorities believe were flown into Istanbul from Riyadh. The state-run Anadolu news agency later published similar details on eight of the individuals.

One of the Saudi men was identified by Turkey's official Anadolu Agency and Sabah as Salah Muhammed al-Tubaiqi. He is listed on an official Saudi health website as the head of the forensic medicine department at the interior ministry.

Another member of the group identified by Turkish official media, Muhammad Saad al-Zahrani, has appeared on Saudi state TV alongside MBS.

Turkish officials are investigating whether Khashoggi's Apple Watch reveals clues as to what happened to him inside the Saudi consulate, examining whether data from the smartwatch could have been transmitted to a cloud, or his personal phone, which was with Cengiz outside, Reuters reported, citing two senior Turkish officials.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 71015

Reported Deaths: 3013
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15322723
Lake7343274
Elkhart471380
Allen3725160
St. Joseph330179
Hamilton2610104
Vanderburgh184213
Hendricks1814106
Cass17669
Johnson1694118
Porter123839
Clark114846
Tippecanoe114611
Madison89565
LaPorte86930
Howard85565
Kosciusko82712
Marshall75822
Bartholomew75447
Floyd74045
Monroe70830
Delaware68052
Dubois65812
Boone65346
Noble64529
Hancock63838
Jackson5625
LaGrange55410
Warrick55330
Vigo54310
Shelby53527
Grant52029
Dearborn47928
Morgan45134
Clinton4043
Henry36919
White35110
Montgomery34621
Wayne34610
Lawrence33727
Decatur32432
Harrison30923
Putnam2778
Miami2642
Daviess25920
Scott25710
Greene24134
Franklin23413
DeKalb2234
Jasper2192
Jennings21512
Gibson2084
Steuben2043
Ripley1947
Perry17912
Fayette1777
Starke1747
Orange16624
Posey1650
Wabash1613
Fulton1592
Carroll1572
Wells1542
Jefferson1532
Whitley1476
Knox1420
Tipton1296
Huntington1213
Washington1211
Spencer1193
Newton11410
Randolph1144
Clay1045
Sullivan911
Adams892
Jay840
Owen831
Pulaski751
Brown711
Rush714
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford592
Ohio574
Pike520
Parke501
Vermillion480
Crawford440
Switzerland440
Martin420
Union350
Warren201
Unassigned0202

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 97471

Reported Deaths: 3618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin17834521
Cuyahoga13141491
Hamilton9374252
Lucas5155320
Montgomery417487
Summit3433218
Marion291045
Butler282262
Mahoning2477254
Pickaway237842
Stark1766137
Warren171136
Lorain168977
Columbiana161860
Trumbull1481105
Fairfield130931
Delaware126319
Licking120247
Clark111514
Lake107338
Wood99358
Clermont89211
Medina88735
Miami81137
Tuscarawas76214
Portage74361
Allen69942
Greene65611
Belmont59226
Richland58911
Mercer57313
Erie55627
Ashtabula55045
Geauga54844
Wayne51958
Ross4444
Huron3885
Ottawa36825
Sandusky36316
Darke36027
Athens3531
Hancock3533
Madison34910
Holmes3266
Lawrence2420
Auglaize2395
Union2331
Jefferson2192
Muskingum2151
Scioto2111
Putnam19917
Washington19822
Knox1917
Seneca1903
Coshocton1886
Shelby1774
Preble1762
Crawford1715
Morrow1652
Hardin15912
Clinton1586
Champaign1571
Highland1461
Fulton1441
Logan1402
Ashland1373
Wyandot1368
Defiance1334
Williams1303
Brown1232
Perry1163
Guernsey1147
Hocking1149
Henry1132
Carroll1105
Fayette1090
Monroe9118
Pike750
Jackson730
Van Wert701
Paulding640
Gallia621
Adams592
Meigs330
Vinton302
Morgan230
Harrison221
Noble170
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 59°
Angola
Few Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 55°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
55° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
54° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 54°
Van Wert
54° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 54°
Sunny, Seasonable Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events