US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said he expects Turkish and Saudi Arabian investigations to reveal a "complete picture" of what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as the Trump administration comes under increasing pressure to respond to the incident.
Trump, who has forged closer ties with Saudi Arabia and the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist, had likely been killed.
'Trump's getting some criticism for his bold soft-on-murder stance, ' Colbert said on Thursday in his monologue for the CBS Late Show, referring to the president's statement on Khashoggi.
But Pompeo, "who smiled broadly as he greeted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, appeared less intent on determining the truth than in helping the de facto Saudi ruler escape from the crisis he triggered", said the Post.
Trump previously speculated without providing evidence that "rogue killers" could be responsible.
Turkish officials say Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate and on Thursday they reportedly expanded their search for his body to a large forest just outside Istanbul.
A source familiar with the Turkish investigation has told CNN that Saudi intelligence officer and former diplomat Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb played a "pivotal role" in the apparent assassination of Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, who had been living in the US, went missing more than two weeks ago after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consult in Istanbul more than two weeks ago and is feared dead. The Saudis have dismissed those reports as baseless but have yet to explain what happened to Khashoggi, a contributing columnist for The Washington Post who wrote critically of Prince Mohammed's rise to power.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said it is a pity that Mr Khashoggi has gone missing, but that Russia can not damage relations with Saudi Arabia without hard facts.
Addressing reporters at the White House after his return to the U.S., Pompeo said he advised President Donald Trump to give Saudi Arabia "a few more days" to complete their investigation into the matter.
If the Saudi government is found to be culpable in Khashoggi's disappearance, the legislation prohibits all U.S. military aid and sales to Saudi Arabia until Congress passes a resolution approving such sales.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced, "We have decided I will not be participating in the Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia". Authorities have not said specifically what they found, although technicians carried out bags and boxes from the consul general's home. The crown prince is next in line for the throne, which is held by his ailing, aged father King Salman.
"I don't have anything to say about that", he told reporters a day earlier.