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The shocking revelation comes on the same day that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Khashoggi's "ferocious murder" had been "planned", rejecting the Saudi explanation of his death occurring due to a brawl within the consular premises.

Asked by a reporter in the White House Oval Office how the Khashoggi killing could have happened, Trump said: "They had a very bad original concept".

'Very simple. Bad deal, should have never been thought of. Somebody really messed up.

Turkish authorities say Khashoggi was the victim of a pre-planned assassination operation while Saudi officials have conceded that he died but that his killing occurred accidentally while they were trying to convince him to return home. First, Saudi officials said Khashoggi left the embassy unharmed, but after 17 days, following grisly news reports of Khashoggi's death, Saudi officials said last Friday that he was killed during an altercation inside the consulate.

That leaves open questions such as whether the Saudi operation in Istanbul was always meant to result in Khashoggi's death or whether the original plan was to kidnap and transport him to Saudi Arabia. In the Saudi capital of Riyadh, the king and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman delivered their personal condolences to Khashoggi's grieving son and brother.

"We're all meeting tomorrow afternoon", Trump said during a meeting with military leaders early Tuesday evening. "We're just hurting ourselves", Trump said.

Erdogan spoke about Khashoggi's killing for more than 45 minutes, beginning his remarks with what he called a "refresh" of the events surrounding Khashoggi's death.

But US and allied intelligence reporting that details any specific instructions the crown prince might have issued about the Khashoggi incident is not conclusive, the sources said.

Several countries, including Germany, Britain, France and Turkey, have pressed Riyadh to provide all the facts, and Chancellor Angela Merkel said Berlin would not export arms to Saudi Arabia while uncertainty over Khashoggi's fate persisted.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, shortly afterwards, that the U.S. "will punish those responsible" and is revoking visas of 21 identified suspects.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday Khashoggi was approached by "Saudi security team" when he entered the consulate and their account of what happened after that differed from that of Turkish officials, which prompted the Saudis to investigate. Outcry at the shifting plot line continued to grow after Saudi state media claimed on Saturday that Khashoggi was strangled to death amid a fistfight with 15 Saudi operatives.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was a USA resident and Washington Post columnist.

In addition to the arrests, the Saudis say they have sacked two of the crown prince's aides and set up an organisation, under his leadership, to reform the intelligence agency over the killing. "This kind of brutality is against the collective human conscience". Who did these people get their orders from to go there?

"The Saudi administration has taken an important step by admitting to the murder. $450 billion. I think that's over a million jobs, a million to- over a million jobs".