- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US probe of Jamal Khashoggi’s death will take a “handful more weeks” before possible sanctions come into play.
- He said the US is “reviewing” potential sanctions on individuals it has identified in relation to Khashoggi’s murder.
- He also denied hearing alleged audio evidence of Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US probe of Jamal Khashoggi’s death will take a “handful more weeks” before possible sanctions come into play.
“We are reviewing putting sanctions on the individuals that we have been able to identify to date that have – that were engaged in that murder,” he said during a radio interview on Thursday.
“It will take us probably a handful more weeks before we have enough evidence to actually put those sanctions in place, but I think we’ll be able to get there.”
He also denied hearing alleged audio evidence of Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Last week, Pompeo said the US will revoke visas and consider sanctions in conjunction with the murder, and had “identified at least some of the individuals responsible, including those in the intelligence services, the Royal Court, the foreign ministry, and other Saudi ministries.”
President Trump has described Khashoggi’s killing as one of the worst cover-ups in history, and said he would leave the decision to punish the kingdom with Congress.
On Wednesday, Pompeo told conservative talk-show host Brian Kilmeade that the hit on Khashoggi “violates the norms of international law.“
“That much is very, very clear,” he said.
Pompeo’s remarks come after Istanbul’s chief prosecutor, Irfan Fidan, gave the most detailed official account of the killing so far on Wednesday. Fidan said for the first time publicly that Khashoggi was strangled shortly after he entered the consulate and that his body was later dismembered. They still have not recovered his remains.
A Turkish official also told The Washington Post Wednesday that investigators are pursuing the idea that the journalist’s remains were dissolved in acid.
Meanwhile, Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb visited Istanbul from Monday to Wednesday, ostensibly to share intelligence on the Kingdom’s own parallel investigation into Khashoggi’s death.
Saudi Arabia has continued shifting its version of events, first denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, and then acknowledging his death 17 days later.
Officials have repeatedly distanced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from the event, though experts have said the “sensitive” plot would have been an order that ” only the most senior” Saudi officials, like the Crown Prince, could approve of.
Alexandra Ma contributed to this report.