First, the cause was a “fistfight” gone wrong. Then word spread that Khashoggi died in a chokehold.
“That is how he died,” one Saudi official said. “It didn’t last that long.” No reason why Khashoggi would start a fight with 15 Saudi guards was given.
It then took the Saudi government 18 days to acknowledge that Khashoggi was dead.
On Sunday, however, the kingdom’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News that Khashoggi’s killing was “murder” and a “tremendous mistake,” but that they “don’t know where the body is.”
“We are determined to uncover every stone,” al-Jubeir said. “We are determined to find out all the facts. And we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder.”
Turkish officials claim to have audio recordings of what really happened to Khashoggi, which reports say included an interrogation, torture, and dismemberment while the journalist was still alive.
The perpetrators, including an autopsy specialist named Dr. Salah al-Tubaigy, allegedly used a bone saw to cut Khashoggi’s body to pieces.
President Donald Trump has vowed “severe punishment” if the evidence shows the Saudi government was behind the assassination of Khashoggi. On Saturday, Trump told the Washington Post that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies” on the part of the Saudis.
Still, the president has emphasized the strategic importance of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, referring to the kingdom as an “incredible ally” and brushing off suspicions that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of a journalist.
“Nobody has told me he’s responsible,” Trump told the Post. “Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point . . . I would love if he wasn’t responsible.”