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Newly Published Files Confirm Plan to Move Assange to Russia

Newly released Ecuadorian government documents have laid bare an unorthodox attempt to extricate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from his embassy hideaway in London by naming him as a political counselor to the country’s embassy in Moscow.

But the 47-year-old Australian’s new career in international affairs was nipped in the bud when British authorities vetoed his diplomatic status, effectively blocking him from taking up the post in Russia.

The files were made public late Tuesday by Ecuadorian opposition lawmaker Paola Vintimilla, who opposes her government’s decision to grant Assange nationality. They largely corroborate a recent Guardian newspaper report that Ecuador attempted the elaborate maneuver to get Assange to Moscow just before Christmas last year.

Russian diplomats called the Guardian story “fake news,” but the government files show Assange briefly was made “political counselor” to the Ecuadorian Embassy in Moscow and eligible for a monthly salary pegged at $2,000.

Ecuador also applied for a diplomatic ID card, the documents show, but the plan appears to have fallen apart with the British veto.

A letter dated Dec. 21, 2017, from Britain’s Foreign Office said U.K. officials “do not consider Mr. Julian Assange to be an acceptable member of the mission.”

An eight-page memo to Vintimilla summing up the episode noted that Assange’s position as counselor was scrapped a few days later.

WikiLeaks did not return messages. The British Foreign Office and the Russian Embassy in London declined to comment.

Assange’s relationship with Russian authorities has been the subject of intense scrutiny following the 2016 U.S. election, when Russian spies are alleged to have handed WikiLeaks leaked emails from presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign in a bid to help elect her rival, Donald Trump.

Assange has denied receiving the files from the Russian government or backing the Trump campaign, despite a growing body of evidence suggesting he received material directly from Russia’s military intelligence agency and coordinated media strategy with Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.

Last month, the AP published internal WikiLeaks files showing Assange tried to move to Russia as early as 2010.

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AP Fact Check: Trump Distorts Migrant Policy, Russia Probe

President Donald Trump mischaracterized the plight of children who were taken from parents at the Mexico border and what’s known about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election investigation in his wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press.

A look at his comments on those subjects Tuesday:

Immigration

Trump: “We have the worst laws in the history of the world on immigration and we’re getting them changed one by one. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks even, but we’re getting them changed one by one.”

The facts: He’s actually failed to achieve changes in immigration laws. All of the immigration-related changes pushed by his administration were done by executive order, not legislation, or through policy shifts like the zero-tolerance policy that criminally prosecuted anyone caught crossing illegally and gave rise to family separations. The administration has also used regulations to tighten the rules on how immigrants can receive public benefits. Immigration legislation has failed despite Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

Trump, on the separation of children from their parents at the border: “Now President Obama had the same law. He did the same thing.”

The facts: Obama did not do the same thing as a matter of policy. It’s true the underlying laws were the same. But the Trump administration mandated anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted. The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings, and their children were separated and sent into the care of the Health and Human Services Department, which is tasked with caring for unaccompanied migrant children. The so-called zero-tolerance policy remains in effect, but Trump signed an executive order June 20 that stopped separations.

Jeh Johnson, Obama’s homeland security secretary, told NPR there may have been unusual or emergency circumstances when children were taken from parents but there was no such policy.

​Trump: “And in fact the picture of children living in cages that was taken in 2014 was a picture of President Obama’s administration and the way they handled children. They had the kids living in cages. They thought it was our administration and they used it, and then unbeknownst to them and the fake news they found out, ‘Oh my God, this is a terrible situation.’ This was during the Obama administration.”

The facts: He’s right. Images that circulated online during the height of Trump’s family separations controversy were actually from 2014 under the Obama administration. But circumstances for some children have not changed. In June, an Associated Press reporter was part of a group that visited a U.S. Border Patrol holding facility, where hundreds of children were waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside, scattered around were bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. The cages in each wing opened out into common areas to use portable restrooms.

The children both in 2014 and 2018 were separated temporarily from their parents in the facilities, placed in areas by age and sex for safety reasons.

Russia investigation

Trump, about Mueller’s Russia investigation: “It’s a tremendous waste of time for the president of the United States. To think that I would be even thinking about using Russia to help me win Idaho, we’re using Russia to help me win the great state of Iowa or anywhere else is the most preposterous, embarrassing thing.”

​The facts: Trump may be right that he did not need a boost in Idaho and Iowa, states he won in 2016 with comfortable margins of 31 points and 9 points, respectively. But the notion of Russia-backed activities on his behalf “anywhere else” in the U.S. is not far-fetched, according to an indictment in February by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The indictment accuses 13 Russians and three Russian entities of seeking to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton by running a hidden social media trolling campaign and seeking to mobilize Trump supporters at rallies while posing as American political activists in “purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida.” According to the indictment, the surreptitious campaign was organized by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm financed by companies controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The indictment says the defendants commonly referred to targeting more closely divided “purple states” after being advised by a Texas-based grass-roots organization in June 2016 to focus efforts there.

The indictment details contacts targeting three unidentified officials in the Trump campaign’s Florida operation. In each instance, the Russians used false U.S. personas to contact the officials. The indictment doesn’t say if any of them responded.

Trump lost by nearly 2.9 million votes in the popular vote to Clinton, but captured the needed Electoral College votes to win the presidency after prevailing in politically divided states including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump: “This was an excuse made by the Democrats for the reason they lost the Electoral College, which gives them a big advantage — a big advantage. Very different than the popular vote. The popular vote would be much easier to win if you were campaigning on it. … But winning the Electoral College is a tremendous advantage for the Democrats.”

The facts: Trump is falsely asserting, as he has before, that Democrats have a “big advantage” in the Electoral College. Its unique system of electing presidents is actually a big reason why Trump won the presidency. Four candidates in history have won a majority of the popular vote only to be denied the presidency by the Electoral College. All were Democrats.

In the 2016 election, Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump after racking up lopsided victories in big states such as New York and California, according to election data compiled by The Associated Press. But she lost the presidency due to Trump’s winning margin in the Electoral College, which came after he narrowly won less populous Midwestern states including Michigan and Wisconsin.

Unlike the popular vote, Electoral College votes are set equal to the number of U.S. representatives in each state plus its two senators. That means more weight is given to a single vote in a small state than the vote of someone in a large state.

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AP Fact Check: Trump Distorts Migrant Policy, Russia Probe

President Donald Trump mischaracterized the plight of children who were taken from parents at the Mexico border and what’s known about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election investigation in his wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press.

A look at his comments on those subjects Tuesday:

Immigration

Trump: “We have the worst laws in the history of the world on immigration and we’re getting them changed one by one. We’ve made a lot of progress in the last couple of weeks even, but we’re getting them changed one by one.”

The facts: He’s actually failed to achieve changes in immigration laws. All of the immigration-related changes pushed by his administration were done by executive order, not legislation, or through policy shifts like the zero-tolerance policy that criminally prosecuted anyone caught crossing illegally and gave rise to family separations. The administration has also used regulations to tighten the rules on how immigrants can receive public benefits. Immigration legislation has failed despite Republican control of the White House and both houses of Congress.

Trump, on the separation of children from their parents at the border: “Now President Obama had the same law. He did the same thing.”

The facts: Obama did not do the same thing as a matter of policy. It’s true the underlying laws were the same. But the Trump administration mandated anyone caught crossing the border illegally was to be criminally prosecuted. The policy meant adults were taken to court for criminal proceedings, and their children were separated and sent into the care of the Health and Human Services Department, which is tasked with caring for unaccompanied migrant children. The so-called zero-tolerance policy remains in effect, but Trump signed an executive order June 20 that stopped separations.

Jeh Johnson, Obama’s homeland security secretary, told NPR there may have been unusual or emergency circumstances when children were taken from parents but there was no such policy.

​Trump: “And in fact the picture of children living in cages that was taken in 2014 was a picture of President Obama’s administration and the way they handled children. They had the kids living in cages. They thought it was our administration and they used it, and then unbeknownst to them and the fake news they found out, ‘Oh my God, this is a terrible situation.’ This was during the Obama administration.”

The facts: He’s right. Images that circulated online during the height of Trump’s family separations controversy were actually from 2014 under the Obama administration. But circumstances for some children have not changed. In June, an Associated Press reporter was part of a group that visited a U.S. Border Patrol holding facility, where hundreds of children were waiting in a series of cages created by metal fencing. One cage had 20 children inside, scattered around were bottles of water, bags of chips and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets. The cages in each wing opened out into common areas to use portable restrooms.

The children both in 2014 and 2018 were separated temporarily from their parents in the facilities, placed in areas by age and sex for safety reasons.

Russia investigation

Trump, about Mueller’s Russia investigation: “It’s a tremendous waste of time for the president of the United States. To think that I would be even thinking about using Russia to help me win Idaho, we’re using Russia to help me win the great state of Iowa or anywhere else is the most preposterous, embarrassing thing.”

​The facts: Trump may be right that he did not need a boost in Idaho and Iowa, states he won in 2016 with comfortable margins of 31 points and 9 points, respectively. But the notion of Russia-backed activities on his behalf “anywhere else” in the U.S. is not far-fetched, according to an indictment in February by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The indictment accuses 13 Russians and three Russian entities of seeking to help Trump defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton by running a hidden social media trolling campaign and seeking to mobilize Trump supporters at rallies while posing as American political activists in “purple states like Colorado, Virginia and Florida.” According to the indictment, the surreptitious campaign was organized by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm financed by companies controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a wealthy businessman with ties to President Vladimir Putin.

The indictment says the defendants commonly referred to targeting more closely divided “purple states” after being advised by a Texas-based grass-roots organization in June 2016 to focus efforts there.

The indictment details contacts targeting three unidentified officials in the Trump campaign’s Florida operation. In each instance, the Russians used false U.S. personas to contact the officials. The indictment doesn’t say if any of them responded.

Trump lost by nearly 2.9 million votes in the popular vote to Clinton, but captured the needed Electoral College votes to win the presidency after prevailing in politically divided states including Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Trump: “This was an excuse made by the Democrats for the reason they lost the Electoral College, which gives them a big advantage — a big advantage. Very different than the popular vote. The popular vote would be much easier to win if you were campaigning on it. … But winning the Electoral College is a tremendous advantage for the Democrats.”

The facts: Trump is falsely asserting, as he has before, that Democrats have a “big advantage” in the Electoral College. Its unique system of electing presidents is actually a big reason why Trump won the presidency. Four candidates in history have won a majority of the popular vote only to be denied the presidency by the Electoral College. All were Democrats.

In the 2016 election, Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump after racking up lopsided victories in big states such as New York and California, according to election data compiled by The Associated Press. But she lost the presidency due to Trump’s winning margin in the Electoral College, which came after he narrowly won less populous Midwestern states including Michigan and Wisconsin.

Unlike the popular vote, Electoral College votes are set equal to the number of U.S. representatives in each state plus its two senators. That means more weight is given to a single vote in a small state than the vote of someone in a large state.

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Treasury Employee Accused in Leak Linked to Mueller Probe

A Treasury Department employee was accused Wednesday of leaking confidential banking reports of suspects charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and an unidentified high-ranking colleague was cited in court papers as a co-conspirator but was not charged.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior official at the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, is accused of leaking several confidential suspicious-activity reports to a journalist, whose name was not disclosed in court papers. But they list about a dozen stories published by BuzzFeed News over the past year and a half. A spokesman for the news organization declined to comment.

According to the government, the material included reports on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, political consultant Richard Gates and Maria Butina, who is accused of trying to infiltrate U.S. political organizations as a covert Russian agent. 

Edwards is currently on administrative leave, FinCen spokesman Steve Hudak said.

Questionable transactions

Banks must file the suspicious-activity reports with the Treasury Department when they spot transactions that raise questions about possible financial misconduct such as money laundering.

When federal agents confronted Edwards this week, she described herself as a whistle-blower and said she had provided the reports to the reporter for “record-keeping,” the court papers said.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, where the criminal complaint was filed, said Edwards “betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information.”

Edwards is alleged to have taken photographs of the confidential documents and sent them to a reporter using an encrypted messaging app, according to court documents. Edwards also sent the reporter internal Treasury Department emails, investigative memos and intelligence assessments, prosecutors allege.

When she was arrested, Edwards was in possession of a flash drive containing the confidential reports, prosecutors said.

Edwards was to make an initial court appearance later Wednesday in Virginia. It was not immediately clear whether she had a lawyer.

Co-conspirator

Court papers also list another FinCEN employee as a co-conspirator, noting that this person exchanged more than 300 messages with the reporter via an encrypted messaging application. This person has not been charged and was not named in the court papers, and was identified only as an associate director at FinCEN to whom Edwards reported.

According to court papers, federal investigators obtained a court order to monitor the calls to and from the associate director’s personal cellphone, and that monitoring captured the frequency of contacts with the reporter via the encrypted messaging application. Court papers do not detail the contents of those messages.

“Protecting sensitive information is one of our most critical responsibilities, and it is a role that we take very seriously,” said Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

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Treasury Employee Accused in Leak Linked to Mueller Probe

A Treasury Department employee was accused Wednesday of leaking confidential banking reports of suspects charged in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and an unidentified high-ranking colleague was cited in court papers as a co-conspirator but was not charged.

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards, a senior official at the department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, is accused of leaking several confidential suspicious-activity reports to a journalist, whose name was not disclosed in court papers. But they list about a dozen stories published by BuzzFeed News over the past year and a half. A spokesman for the news organization declined to comment.

According to the government, the material included reports on former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, political consultant Richard Gates and Maria Butina, who is accused of trying to infiltrate U.S. political organizations as a covert Russian agent. 

Edwards is currently on administrative leave, FinCen spokesman Steve Hudak said.

Questionable transactions

Banks must file the suspicious-activity reports with the Treasury Department when they spot transactions that raise questions about possible financial misconduct such as money laundering.

When federal agents confronted Edwards this week, she described herself as a whistle-blower and said she had provided the reports to the reporter for “record-keeping,” the court papers said.

Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, where the criminal complaint was filed, said Edwards “betrayed her position of trust by repeatedly disclosing highly sensitive information.”

Edwards is alleged to have taken photographs of the confidential documents and sent them to a reporter using an encrypted messaging app, according to court documents. Edwards also sent the reporter internal Treasury Department emails, investigative memos and intelligence assessments, prosecutors allege.

When she was arrested, Edwards was in possession of a flash drive containing the confidential reports, prosecutors said.

Edwards was to make an initial court appearance later Wednesday in Virginia. It was not immediately clear whether she had a lawyer.

Co-conspirator

Court papers also list another FinCEN employee as a co-conspirator, noting that this person exchanged more than 300 messages with the reporter via an encrypted messaging application. This person has not been charged and was not named in the court papers, and was identified only as an associate director at FinCEN to whom Edwards reported.

According to court papers, federal investigators obtained a court order to monitor the calls to and from the associate director’s personal cellphone, and that monitoring captured the frequency of contacts with the reporter via the encrypted messaging application. Court papers do not detail the contents of those messages.

“Protecting sensitive information is one of our most critical responsibilities, and it is a role that we take very seriously,” said Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

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Trump Wants Audio, Video Evidence From Turkey About Missing Saudi Journalist, ‘If It Exists’

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants audio and video intelligence from Turkey “if it exists” regarding the disappearance of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist whom Turkish officials say was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.

Trump’s demand at the White House came as he expressed support for Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally, and said he expects its investigation into the missing journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, would be completed by the end of the week. Saudi Arabia has denied Khashoggi was killed.

When questioned on what he would do if the Saudi investigation showed that Saudi leaders King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were responsible, Trump told Fox Business in an earlier interview, “Well, I hope we’re going to be on the better side of the equation.”

“You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that’s happening in Iran and other places,” Trump said.

When asked if the U.S. would distance itself from Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case, Trump said, “I do not want to do that and frankly they have a tremendous order, $110 billion,” referring to a promised Saudi purchase of U.S.-made weaponry in the coming years.

“It is 500,000 jobs, it will be ultimately $110 billion. It’s the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military, and I said we are going to turn that down?” he added.

“So hopefully it is working out. We’ll find out, we’ll get down to the bottom of it,” Trump said of the Saudi investigation. “I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about it. That is a big factor in my eyes, and I hope they haven’t.”

Pompeo meetings

Trump’s assessment came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo completed visits to Saudi Arabia and Turkey for talks with the Saudi leaders and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen October 2 walking into the Saudi consulate.

Pompeo, heading back to Washington, told reporters that the U.S. needs “to know the facts before we can begin to formulate what the appropriate response” would be if Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“I do think it’s important that everyone … keep in their mind that we have lots of important relationships — financial relationships between U.S. and Saudi companies, governmental relationship, things we work on together all across the world,” Pompeo said. “The efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, Iran — the Saudis have been great partners in working alongside us on those issues.

“I … could go on about places where the Saudis and the Americans are working together,” the top U.S. diplomat said. “Those are important elements of U.S. national policy that are for, are in Americans’ best interests. And we just need to make sure that we are mindful of that as we approach decisions that the United States government will take when we learn all of the facts associated with whatever may have taken place.”

Earlier, Pompeo said that when he met with Saudi leaders, they did not want to talk about any of the facts involving Khashoggi’s disappearance.

As he headed to Ankara to talk to the Turkish leaders about their investigation regarding the missing journalist, Pompeo said that the Saudi monarch and his son assured him they “would show the entire world” the results of their investigation.

Pompeo said the Saudis committed to holding accountable “anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found,” making no exceptions for anyone, including members of the royal family.

When asked whether the Saudi officials told him whether Khashoggi is alive or dead, Pompeo said, “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They didn’t want to either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way.”

Media reports

The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that Saudi operatives beat and drugged Khashoggi, then killed and dismembered him, with pro-government media in Turkey publishing similar accounts. The U.S. newspaper said Turkish officials have shared evidence, including details of an audio recording, with Saudi and U.S. officials.

When asked what gave him the benefit of the doubt in believing Saudi Arabia’s account that it was not involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, Pompeo said, “I’m waiting for the investigation to be completed. They promised that they would achieve that, and I’m counting on it, and they gave me their word. And we’ll all get to see if they deliver against that commitment.”

A critic of the Saudi monarchy who wrote for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was last seen October 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said 15 Saudi agents, who arrived in Istanbul the same day, killed Khashoggi, while Saudi officials say he walked out of the consulate on his own. Neither country has publicly offered evidence of its version of events.

The New York Times and the Post both reported late Tuesday that several people from the list of Saudi agents are linked to Saudi security services and the crown prince.

Turkish investigators on Wednesday scoured the residence of Saudi consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi for evidence in the case, after doing the same at the consulate Tuesday. The Saudi envoy left Istanbul for Riyadh on Tuesday.

While Trump has voiced support for Saudi Arabia as the investigation continues, some U.S. lawmakers have all but accepted Turkey’s version of the events — that a team of Saudi agents arrived in Istanbul and killed Khashoggi when he went to the consulate to pick up documents he needed to marry his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national who waited in vain for Khashoggi to emerge from the consulate.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Tuesday the United States should “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” over the incident and that he would never again work with the crown prince, assailing him as “toxic” and calling him a “wrecking ball.”

Ken Bredemeier, Chris Hannas and State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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Trump Wants Audio, Video Evidence From Turkey About Missing Saudi Journalist, ‘If It Exists’

U.S. President Donald Trump said Wednesday he wants audio and video intelligence from Turkey “if it exists” regarding the disappearance of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist whom Turkish officials say was killed and dismembered by Saudi agents inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul.

Trump’s demand at the White House came as he expressed support for Saudi Arabia, a longtime U.S. ally, and said he expects its investigation into the missing journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, would be completed by the end of the week. Saudi Arabia has denied Khashoggi was killed.

When questioned on what he would do if the Saudi investigation showed that Saudi leaders King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were responsible, Trump told Fox Business in an earlier interview, “Well, I hope we’re going to be on the better side of the equation.”

“You know we need Saudi Arabia in terms of our fight against all of the terrorism, everything that’s happening in Iran and other places,” Trump said.

When asked if the U.S. would distance itself from Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case, Trump said, “I do not want to do that and frankly they have a tremendous order, $110 billion,” referring to a promised Saudi purchase of U.S.-made weaponry in the coming years.

“It is 500,000 jobs, it will be ultimately $110 billion. It’s the biggest order in the history of our country from an outside military, and I said we are going to turn that down?” he added.

“So hopefully it is working out. We’ll find out, we’ll get down to the bottom of it,” Trump said of the Saudi investigation. “I hope that the king and the crown prince didn’t know about it. That is a big factor in my eyes, and I hope they haven’t.”

Pompeo meetings

Trump’s assessment came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo completed visits to Saudi Arabia and Turkey for talks with the Saudi leaders and with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu about the disappearance of Khashoggi, who was last seen October 2 walking into the Saudi consulate.

Pompeo, heading back to Washington, told reporters that the U.S. needs “to know the facts before we can begin to formulate what the appropriate response” would be if Saudi Arabia is responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“I do think it’s important that everyone … keep in their mind that we have lots of important relationships — financial relationships between U.S. and Saudi companies, governmental relationship, things we work on together all across the world,” Pompeo said. “The efforts to reduce the risk to the United States of America from the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, Iran — the Saudis have been great partners in working alongside us on those issues.

“I … could go on about places where the Saudis and the Americans are working together,” the top U.S. diplomat said. “Those are important elements of U.S. national policy that are for, are in Americans’ best interests. And we just need to make sure that we are mindful of that as we approach decisions that the United States government will take when we learn all of the facts associated with whatever may have taken place.”

Earlier, Pompeo said that when he met with Saudi leaders, they did not want to talk about any of the facts involving Khashoggi’s disappearance.

As he headed to Ankara to talk to the Turkish leaders about their investigation regarding the missing journalist, Pompeo said that the Saudi monarch and his son assured him they “would show the entire world” the results of their investigation.

Pompeo said the Saudis committed to holding accountable “anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found,” making no exceptions for anyone, including members of the royal family.

When asked whether the Saudi officials told him whether Khashoggi is alive or dead, Pompeo said, “I don’t want to talk about any of the facts. They didn’t want to either, in that they want to have the opportunity to complete this investigation in a thorough way.”

Media reports

The Wall Street Journal reported late Tuesday that Saudi operatives beat and drugged Khashoggi, then killed and dismembered him, with pro-government media in Turkey publishing similar accounts. The U.S. newspaper said Turkish officials have shared evidence, including details of an audio recording, with Saudi and U.S. officials.

When asked what gave him the benefit of the doubt in believing Saudi Arabia’s account that it was not involved in Khashoggi’s disappearance, Pompeo said, “I’m waiting for the investigation to be completed. They promised that they would achieve that, and I’m counting on it, and they gave me their word. And we’ll all get to see if they deliver against that commitment.”

A critic of the Saudi monarchy who wrote for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was last seen October 2 entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Turkish officials have said 15 Saudi agents, who arrived in Istanbul the same day, killed Khashoggi, while Saudi officials say he walked out of the consulate on his own. Neither country has publicly offered evidence of its version of events.

The New York Times and the Post both reported late Tuesday that several people from the list of Saudi agents are linked to Saudi security services and the crown prince.

Turkish investigators on Wednesday scoured the residence of Saudi consul general Mohammed al-Otaibi for evidence in the case, after doing the same at the consulate Tuesday. The Saudi envoy left Istanbul for Riyadh on Tuesday.

While Trump has voiced support for Saudi Arabia as the investigation continues, some U.S. lawmakers have all but accepted Turkey’s version of the events — that a team of Saudi agents arrived in Istanbul and killed Khashoggi when he went to the consulate to pick up documents he needed to marry his fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, a Turkish national who waited in vain for Khashoggi to emerge from the consulate.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Tuesday the United States should “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” over the incident and that he would never again work with the crown prince, assailing him as “toxic” and calling him a “wrecking ball.”

Ken Bredemeier, Chris Hannas and State Department correspondent Nike Ching contributed to this report.

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Падіння Су-27: бортові самописці знайшли – Лисенко

Бортові самописці з літака Су-27, який впав під час військових навчань у Вінницькій області, знайшли, повідомив речник Генеральної прокуратури Андрій Лисенко. За його словами, слідчі та процесуальні дії тривають.

Лисенко також зазначив, що наразі військові прокурори, які розслідують справу, вже опитали понад 40 свідків.

«Триває робота з вилученою льотною документацію. На місці події закінчується зібрання останків загиблих, після чого планується призначення судової молекулярно-генетичної експертизи. Також вже призначені судово-медична експертиза та судова експертиза нафтопродуктів (для дослідження зразків палива, яким заправлявся літак)», – каже Лисенко.

За його словами, засідання комісії Міністерства оборони з технічного розслідування катастрофи будуть відбуватися від завтра щодня у місті Старокостянтинів Хмельницької області.

Військовий літак Су-27 упав у Вінницькій області близько 17:00 16 жовтня біля села Уланів. Обидва пілоти, українець і американець, загинули.

Катастрофа сталася під час міжнародних авіаційних навчань «Чисте небо-2018», які розпочалися 9 жовтня і за планом мають тривати до 19 жовтня.

Загалом до навчань залучено понад 40 літальних апаратів, десятки зенітних ракетних комплексів і засобів радіотехнічних військ.

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