US President Donald Trump has said it 'certainly looks' like journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead in his first acknowledgment that Khashoggi had likely been killed.
Trump was at Joint Base Andrews and was asked by reporters if he thought the journalist was killed on Thursday prior to boarding Air Force One.
Answering a question on what would be the consequences for Saudi Arabia, Trump said: "Well, it'll have to be very severe. I mean, it's bad, bad stuff. But we'll see what happens."
However, in a separate report to The New York Times, the president said: it was still "a little bit early" to draw definitive conclusions as to who could be to blame in the apparent killing.
But he did express confidence in intelligence reports that suggest a high-level Saudi role in the suspected killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Turkish investigators have for the second time searched the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where the journalist vanished from on Oct. 2. Turkish officials allege he was murdered there.
Turkish police are also searching a forest on the outskirts of Istanbul for the remains, according to officials.
Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in Kashoggi's disappearance and the allegations made by Turkey.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was a strong critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In what the Post called his last piece for the newspaper, Khashoggi drew criticism on the Middle East's lack of a free press.
The case has prompted international condemnation with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and UK International Trade Secretary Liam Fox pulling out of a key investment conference in Riyadh next week.