US President Donald Trump has criticised the mounting global condemnation of Saudi Arabia over Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance, and compared it to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
"Here we go again with, you know, you're guilty until proven innocent," he said yesterday.
Trump said that he has spoken to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the kingdom continues to steadfastly deny any involvement in Khashoggi's suspected murder.
Taking to Twitter, Trump said the Crown Prince "totally denied" knowledge of the journalist's disappearance in a phone call which followed a dinner between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudi leader in Riyadh.
Pompeo travelled to Riyadh to meet with King Salman and the Crown Prince to try to defuse the crisis sparked by Khashoggi's disappearance and the Saudis' reluctance to address what happened to him at the consulate.
The Crown Prince told Pompeo that the US and Saudi Arabia "are strong and old allies. We face our challenges together", before sitting down for talks.
Pompeo flew to Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to discuss Khashoggi.
No details were immediately released about the talks in Ankara, and while the trio posed for photos before their meetings, they said nothing in front of journalists.
Upon leaving Turkey on Wednesday afternoon, Pompeo asserted that the US is taking Khashoggi's disappearance "seriously".
Pompeo said Erdogan "made clear that the Saudis had cooperated with the investigation that the Turks are engaged in and they are going to share information".
Asked if he heard or asked to hear audio of Khashoggi's alleged slaying, he said: "I don't have anything to say about that."
Pompeo stressed that the US and Saudi Arabia have important links, including working on countering Iran.
However, he said: "If a country engages in activity that is unlawful, it's unacceptable. No one is going to defend activity of that nature. They need to simply say what happened."
On Monday, US President Donald Trump speculated "rogue killers" were to blame after revealing the Saudi king denied any murder plot during a phone conversation between the pair last night.
Speaking to reporters in the White House, Trump said King Salman's denial "could not have been stronger".
"He said it very strongly," Trump said when pressed to say whether he believed the Saudi king.
He added: "It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers. Who knows?"
Trump has previously said he does not want to halt a proposed $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia - as some in Congress have suggested - because it would harm the US economically.
However, on Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow warned that the United States would "take stern action with the Saudis if necessary".