Trump said it 'certainly looks' like Jamal Khashoggi is dead

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Turkish police are searching a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul and a city near the Sea of Marmara for the remains of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared two weeks ago after entering the Saudi consulate, two Turkish officials say.

Trump stopped short of accusing the Saudis of killing Khashoggi, but he said there would be "very severe" consequences if it turns out they did.

"I don't want to speculate on my worst fears".

The Saudis have strongly denied the allegations but US media outlets have reported they will acknowledge he was killed in a botched interrogation.

President Donald Trump waves off further questions as he heads to board Air Force One after talking to reporters about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance while departing for travel to Montana from Joint Base Andrews, Md., Oct. 18, 2018.

Upon leaving Turkey on Wednesday afternoon, Pompeo asserted that the United States is taking Khashoggi's disappearance "seriously".

'We'll be making a statement, a very strong statement'.

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Asked if he heard or asked to hear audio of Khashoggi's alleged slaying, he said: "I don't have anything to say about that".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday from the White House that he advised the president to give the Saudis a few more days to conclude their investigation before jumping into action.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent to Riyadh on Tuesday, according to the administration, to press the Saudi leadership to get to the bottom of the case. "They said, 'We were able to access this the first day, and we have various other evidence on this'".

"We're working with the intelligence from numerous countries", he said. "This is the best intelligence we could have". Video footage collected by police from around the Saudi Consulate has shown that of the 26 vehicles that exited the compound on October 2, the day Khashoggi went missing, most came back, apart from the two that were carrying the members of the 15-strong assassination squad. "Meanwhile hypocrites continue to trade weapons and prop up a Saudi regime wanted for murder, torture, starvation and genocide".

"I think it's important for us all to remember, too - we have a long, since 1932, a long strategic relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", Pompeo told reporters, also calling Saudi Arabia "an important counterterrorism partner".

Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday that a probe established by United Nations chief Antonio Guterres would shed light on the fate of the prominent dissident journalist and prevent a "whitewash".

Both the Turkish and Saudi governments are conducting separate investigations into Khashoggi's disappearance.

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