BREAKING NEWS US recommends 'pause' for J&J vaccine over clot reports Full Story
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump allies smearing Khashoggi

With President Trump under fire over his muted response to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, conservative supporters are roaring to Trump's rescue. CNN's Tom Foreman reports.

Posted: Oct 21, 2018 2:30 PM
Updated: Oct 21, 2018 2:54 PM

An increasingly vocal chorus of international voices is questioning the Saudi version of events that led to the death of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi in his country's consulate in Istanbul almost three weeks ago.

Statements from the UN, the EU and a number of western governments have criticized Riyadh's handling of the case, which has gone from blanket denials of any involvement to an admission Saturday morning that the journalist was, in fact, killed while visiting the Saudi diplomatic compound in the Turkish city.

The official Saudi line is that Khashoggi died accidentally after a confrontation in the consulate descended into a brawl.

A source with close connections to the Saudi Royal Palace told CNN that Saudis concluded that Khashoggi's cause of death was a chokehold or strangulation, but officials provided no evidence to support the conclusion.

The altercation involved multiple Saudi officials at the country's consulate in Istanbul, according to the statement. It said the suspects later tried to cover up the incident.

Turkish officials say 15 Saudis traveled to Istanbul on the day of Khashoggi's disappearance. They say privately that he was dismembered at the consulate, and Saudi authorities have failed to produce his body or say where they believe it to be.

A source close to the Saudi Royal Palace told CNN that the location of Khashoggi's body is not known to the Saudis. The source said the body was handed over to a local "collaborator" after the killing, adding that it is not at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. CNN cannot verify the assertion.

'Give us Jamal'

Speaking to reporters outside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul on Saturday, Turan Kislakci, the head of the Turkish-Arab Media Association and a friend of Khashoggi, called on Saudi Arabia to hand over the journalist's body.

"Give us Jamal, so we can have a funeral for him. So that all people who care about him, world leaders, can come here to Istanbul for the funeral," he said.

Khashoggi's fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, reacted to the news of his death on Twitter on Saturday evening.

She tweeted footage of Khashoggi speaking and being filmed when a cat unexpectedly jumps into his lap. He looks down and smiles. Khashoggi and the film crew laugh.

"They took your bodily presence from my world," Cengiz wrote. "But your beautiful laugh will remain in my soul forever."

Explanations 'lack credibility'

While the administration of US President Donald Trump continues to give the Saudi explanation at least some benefit of the doubt, some of the US' longest-standing allies have been sharply critical of the Kingdom's version of events.

Canada released a brief statement, calling Riyadh's statement into question.

"The explanations offered to date lack consistency and credibility," Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said in a statement.

"We reiterate our call for a thorough investigation, in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities, and a full and rigorous accounting of the circumstances surrounding Mr. Khashoggi's death.

"Those responsible for the killing must be held to account and must face justice."

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was "deeply troubled" by the explanation, his spokesman said, and in a sharp rebuke, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the Saudi statement, saying that her government expected "transparency in terms of death and background. Those responsible must be held accountable. The information given at the consulates in Istanbul is insufficient."

The European Union, in a statement from its high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Federica Mogherini, said it insists on "the need for continued thorough, credible and transparent investigation, shedding proper clarity on the circumstances of the killing and ensuring full accountability of all those responsible for it."

Saudi friends praise 'transparency'

After the Saudi released the results of its preliminary investigation Saturday, its allies across the region commended it for its "transparency."

In a statement, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan "commended King Salman for his great efforts to explore the truth and seek legal accountability, which he said reflects the transparency and justice in his decision-making on the case."

Similar statements from Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Palestinian Authority expressed solidarity with the Saudi position.

Turkey: We will not allow a coverup

Omer Celik, a senior official in Turkey's ruling political party, also questioned the credibility of Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death.

"We are not pre-emptively blaming anyone but we will also not allow a coverup," Celik said on Saturday, in the first official Turkish reaction to Saudi Arabia's midnight statement saying Khashoggi's death was accidental.

"It is a matter of honor for us that this is uncovered. We will shed light on this using all means we have. That is the will of our President."

Trump, however, again indicated to journalists that he believed the Saudi account was credible, although he added that some questions remained, including the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains.

He has previously defended Saudi Arabia's King Salman and its de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying that the two men had strongly denied knowledge of, or involvement in, Khashoggi's disappearance.

Senator: Trump position 'lack of leadership'

Some members of the US Congress were also critical of the Saudi explanation.

"To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said on Twitter.

Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Mark Warner told CNN the explanation "does not withstand scrutiny and raises more questions than it answers," and called for a "comprehensive and truly independent investigation."

"The Trump administration's position once again demonstrates a lack of leadership, undercutting US leverage, interests and our values."

Khashoggi's former employer, the Washington Post, called the Saudi story a "coverup"

The publisher and chief executive of the Post, for whom Khashoggi was a contributing columnist, cast doubt on Saudi Arabia's explanation.

"The government of Saudi Arabia has shamefully and repeatedly offered one lie after another in the nearly three weeks since Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in their Istanbul consulate," Fred Ryan said in a statement published on Twitter.

"Offering no proof, and contrary to all available evidence, they now expect the world to believe that Jamal died in a fight following a discussion. This is not an explanation; it is a coverup," Ryan said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
56° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 56°
Columbus
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 52°
Oxford
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 55°
Starkville
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 50°
Clouds increase a bit more on Tuesday, though there will still be plenty of sunshine at times. Temperatures will remain very warm. An isolated sprinkle or shower is possible later in the day, though rain chances are much more likely into Wednesday as a cold front passes.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather