Middle East

Saudis Say Jamal Khashoggi Is Dead, But Their Story Draws Skepticism

The Saudi government also dismissed a senior intelligence official, the same one who previous reports indicated might be blamed for Khashoggi's death.

Saudis Say Jamal Khashoggi Is Dead, But Their Story Draws Skepticism
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President Donald Trump says he believes the Saudi explanation for dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death is credible.

Saudi state television said Friday Khashoggi was involved in a fight at the consulate that eventually led to his death. The government also said it's investigating 18 Saudi nationals in connection to Khashoggi's death. The president reportedly called the arrests, "a big step."

Khashoggi was a vocal critic of the Saudi government. He disappeared more than two weeks ago after going to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish authorities have said the Saudi government sent a team to kill Khashoggi and get rid of his body. 

Saudi officials also announced Friday they had removed a senior intelligence official from office — the same official previous reports had indicated might be blamed for Khashoggi's killing.  

The Saudi government had originally denied any knowledge of Khashoggi's disappearance, and said he left the consulate the same day he visited. 

"They, evidently, have underestimated the level of outrage that the world now feels," said Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

Despite the president's comments, the new Saudi narrative has already been met with skepticism by prominent U.S. lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. 

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN.