As his willingness to give Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman any benefit of the doubt continues to fade, President Trump is set to be briefed by CIA Director Gina Haspel on Thursday about what she learned on her 'fact-finding' mission to Turkey earlier this week, where she reportedly heard the audio of Khashoggi's brutal slaying recorded by Turkish spies (though the CIA has refused to confirm these reports).
According to CNN, Haspel traveled to Turkey on Monday, apparently to analyze information the Turks had collected on Khashoggi's Oct. 2 murder inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul at the hands of a 15-man hit squad reportedly sent to the embassy to either interrogate or kill Khashoggi (depending on whom you believe). Trump also said that the US has sent officials to Saudi Arabia to get more information on the killing, which has sparked a global diplomatic crisis, with Western countries weighing whether to cut off ties to the kingdom as Saudi's regional allies line up in support of the kingdom.
The briefing will take place after Trump told WSJ that he suspects MbS knew about Khashoggi's killing - or at least that he was more likely to have known about the killing than his father, King Salman. Trump on Tuesday called the killing and coverup "one of the worst in the history of coverups."
"The prince is running things over there more so at this stage," Trump said when asked about bin Salman's involvement. "He's running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him."
Trump told reporters on Monday that "we have top intelligence people in Turkey. We're going to see what we have." Meanwhile, as Bloomberg reminds us, Trump is facing increasing pressure to do something - anything - to hold the Kingdom, a key US ally and buyer of US arms, accountable for its actions, with lawmakers in both parties pushing bills that would halt weapons sales to the kingdom - a possibility that Trump has already said he would prefer to avoid, per BBG.
The briefing also follows comments from the Saudi Attorney General who again shifted the narrative on Thursday by saying that the killing was "premeditated" by those who carried it out (who are now all, presumably, in custody in Saudi Arabia).