Britain, France and Germany on Sunday said Saudi Arabia must clarify how dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi died inside its Istanbul consulate, and its account must "be backed by facts to be considered credible".
That claim though met widespread scepticism. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Saudi ambassador should be formally expelled from the United States if an investigation shows the crown prince's involvement. Central Intelligence Agency officials have listened to the audio recording that Turkey says proves Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents in the consulate, according to people briefed on the matter.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he will reveal details about the Turkish investigation of the alleged murder of the journalist on Tuesday.
In a statement on Saturday, The Washington Post's publisher and chief executive, Fred Ryan, accused Saudi Arabia of repeatedly lying in the three weeks since Mr. Khashoggi's disappearance.
Police have searched the nearby Belgrad forest in Istanbul where they believe the body may have been taken and one official was hopeful its fate would be known "before long".
In a sign of growing pressure on Saudi Arabia, Turkey said it will announce details of its investigation into the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday and USA congressional leaders said the Gulf kingdom - in particular its crown prince - should face severe consequences for the death of the writer in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
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Barring an unlikely "confession" from Prince Mohammed, Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff said Sunday, "the president is going to accept the crown prince's denials like he's accepted Mr Putin's denials and Kim Jong Un's denials". Saudi Arabia has acknowledged that the critic died there, though says his death was the result of a "fistfight".
"The individuals who did this, did this outside the scope of their authority".
Merkel reiterated her condemnation of the killing at Saudi's consulate in Istanbul, and her earlier call for the kingdom to provide further clarification on the incident and hold those responsible to account.
The foreign minister said Saudi Arabia's investigation into Khashoggi's death was still in its early stages. "We will ultimately make our judgement based on the credibility of the further explanation we receive about what happened and our confidence that such a shameful event can not and will not ever be repeated".
Saudi Arabia finally admitted Friday that its agents killed Khashoggi after he entered the consulate on October 2, but is denying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or King Salman were involved.
The official said Saudi statements had changed because of "false information reported internally at the time".