US to make final conclusions on Saudi killing in days: Trump

The killing and the international uproar it triggered has frayed ties between Washington and longtime ally Riyadh, which has sought to end discussion of the murder and rejected calls for an international investigation.

But ahead of a briefing by his secretary of state and CIA director, Trump demured when asked about possible retaliation against Riyadh.

“They have been a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development,” Trump told reporters.

“And I also take that – you know, I’m president – I have to take a lot of things into consideration.”

The Washington Post, which broke the story, said the CIA found that 15 Saudi agents flew on government aircraft to Istanbul and assassinated Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate.

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

European Union foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini meanwhile reiterated calls for a “thorough, credible and transparent” probe into Khashoggi’s killing.

“The need remains to shed full clarity on the circumstances surrounding this horrendous crime as well as to ensure accountability for all those responsible for it,” she said in a statement.

Reiterating the EU’s categorical opposition to the death penalty, Mogherini said “we will continue to stress that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia must put in place measures to ensure that something like this can never happen again.”

“In due course, the EU and its member states will consider how they can act together towards appropriate measures against those responsible, in support of the rules based international system,” she added.

In the latest version of the events 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.

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