The latest on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

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8:47 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Details of Pompeo's meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister MevluCavusoglu shake hands after their meeting at Ankara Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Turkish Foreign Minister MevluCavusoglu shake hands after their meeting at Ankara Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday. ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed a range of issues including Syria, Iran and counterterrorism during his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara on Wednesday.

"The Secretary welcomed the decision to return Pastor Andrew Brunson and reiterated the United States’ willingness to assist Turkey in its investigation of the Jamal Khashoggi case," according to a statement from US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.

"The Secretary also discussed with Foreign Minister Cavusoglu the continued wrongful detention of Dr. Serkan Golge and other U.S. citizens as well as locally employed staff from US Mission Turkey," she added.

Separately, Cavusoglu said Pompeo was in Ankara "delivering (US President) Trump's messages" but added that he also "told us about the Saudi side" having met with US officials the day before.

6:57 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Turkish interior minister: Saudi consul residence search awaiting "joint consensus"

From CNN's Hamdi Alkhshali in Atlanta

The search of the Saudi consul general’s residence in Istanbul will commence once a joint consensus is reached, according to Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

“There is an agreement, but for the search to start, there must be a joint consensus,” he said. "Once a joint consensus is reached, this step (to search the residence) will be taken," Soylu said.

"We have managed and are continuing to manage this issue transparently," he added.

A search of the residence was due to take place on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the consul general himself, Mohammed al-Otaibi, left Turkey on Tuesday, Anadolu said.

6:35 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Pompeo has left Turkey

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has now left Turkey after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to address the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Wednesday.

Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 4 where he was hoping to collect documents for his upcoming marriage. He has not been seen since.

Pompeo flew into Turkey on Wednesday morning after meeting with Saudi officials in Riyadh the day before. According to the pool of reporters traveling with the top US diplomat, the meeting with Erdogan at Ankara's Esenboga Airport lasted 40 minutes. It was followed by the meeting with Cavusoglu.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, pictured left, talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, pictured left, talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Ankara, Turkey, on Wednesday. Cem Ozdel/Turkish Foreign Ministry via AP/Pool

While at the terminal, Pompeo also met with the families of the three locally hired US State Department employees who were detained in a crackdown following the failed coup attempt against Erdogan in 2016.

Pompeo's next stop will be Brussels, according to the pool.

6:08 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Turkish investigators picked up DNA samples from the Saudi consulate - Anadolu

From Isil Sariyuce in Istanbul

Turkish forensic police officers arrive for investigation at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul on Tuesday.
Turkish forensic police officers arrive for investigation at the residence of the Saudi consul in Istanbul on Tuesday. YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday that searches conducted within the Saudi consulate revealed "a large number of DNA cell samples" after the chemical luminol was sprayed and a special light was used.

Anadolu added that crime scene investigators "took samples in the consulate and consulate sewers in recent days and last night while they were searching."

The samples will be taken to the Directorate of Criminal Police Laboratory in Halkalı, according to the state-run news service.

In regard to continuing searches on Wednesday, Anadolu reported that “the underground garage and the water well used by the consular house in the past will also be scrutinized.”

Anadolu did not provide the source of the information it released.

5:51 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Pompeo: Saudi Arabia committed to transparent investigation

Before getting on a plane from Saudi Arabia to Turkey, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Saudi Arabia is committed to conducting a “thorough, complete and transparent” investigation into the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Pompeo said:

They made a commitment too, to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found, accountable for that. Whether they are a senior officer official, they promised accountability for each of those persons, whom they determine as a result of their investigation as -- deserves accountability.

The top American diplomat refused to say whether Saudi officials told him if Khashoggi was dead or alive.

“I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They didn’t want to either and that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way… I think that’s a reasonable thing to do to give them that opportunity and then we’ll all get to judge. We’ll all get to evaluate that work that they do,” he said.

Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Tuesday after he was dispatched to the region by US President Donald Trump.

He was to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Turkish capital Ankara later on Wednesday.

3:18 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Pompeo arrives in Turkey

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo steps off his plane after arriving in Turkey.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo steps off his plane after arriving in Turkey.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has arrived in the Turkish capital of Ankara to discuss the case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to reporters traveling with him.

3:14 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Trump defends Saudi Arabia as accusations mount over journalist's disappearance

From CNN's Bard Wilkinson

President Donald Trump has defended Saudi Arabia as accusations mount over its de facto ruler's close links to the men who apparently killed a journalist in the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Arabia has come under intense international pressure to explain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance after he visited the consulate on October 2 to obtain papers that would have allowed him to marry his Turkish fiancée.

The disappearance of Khashoggi, an insider-turned-critic of the Saudi government, has prompted international outrage and calls for punitive action against Saudi Arabia.

It has also thrown Trump's close ties with the kingdom into the spotlight as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is engaged on a tough diplomatic mission to contain the crisis.

Trump suggested in an interview on Tuesday that the wave of criticism the Middle Eastern kingdom has faced over Khashoggi's disappearance is premature, comparing the case to sexual assault allegations against recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Read more here

2:47 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

These 2 firms made $230,000 a month lobbying for Saudi Arabia. They just ended the contracts.

From CNN's Mike Conte and Jennifer Hansler

Two lobbying firms have ended their business with the government of Saudi Arabia following the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Glover Park Group has ended its $150,000/month contract to represent the Saudi Embassy in Washington, according to a source familiar with the company. The Washington Post first reported the cancellation. 

CNN reported on Friday that the Harbour Group is also ending its $80,000/month lobbying contract with the Saudi Embassy, according to managing director Richard Mintz. The termination letter would be filed with the Department of Justice by the end of the month, Mintz said. The New York Times first reported the news.

2:06 a.m. ET, October 17, 2018

Key lawmakers call for answers in Khashoggi disappearance

From CNN's Clare Foran

Prominent Republican lawmakers on Tuesday continued to forcefully call for answers and retaliatory action over the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi while they wait to see how the Trump administration will respond.

Here are a few of the senators who have spoken out:

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said on Bloomberg TV that "we need to find out first what happened before deciding what kind of response is appropriate." He added, though, that he "can't imagine there won't be" a response if the Saudi government is proven responsible.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told CNN that the situation is "something we have to address from a human rights standpoint," and that "Congress will act."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, speaking on Fox News, threatened to "sanction the hell" out of Saudi Arabia.

There have been bipartisan efforts as well: last week, a group of senators, including Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, sent a letter to the administration triggering an investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.

Read more here