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Corker promises 'action' from the Senate on missing Saudi journalist, but questions still abound

Fears are growing over the fate of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters Wednesday that the Senate would "take some action" regarding the journalist's disappearance. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters Wednesday that the Senate would "take some action" regarding the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Politico reported. Meanwhile, questions remain about the circumstances of Khashoggi's disappearance, including whether or not he is even still alive.

What's the background?

Khashoggi was a journalist and a frequent critic of the Saudi royal family, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. His work was published in the Washington Post.

While the Saudi crown prince has been praised for his reforms, including allowing Saudi women to drive and relaxing his nation's ban on movie theaters, he has also been brutal in silencing opposition.

On Oct. 2, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. He was at the consulate in order to finalize his divorce so that he could proceed to marry his fiancée. CCTV footage showed him entering the building. He never came out.

What happened next is still unclear.

On Tuesday, the New York Times cited top Turkish security officials who insisted that Khashoggi had been killed, dismembered with a bone saw, and then carted out of the building. However, these officials refused to have their names printed or to reveal their evidence.

According to the BBC, a few local news outlets have reported that Khashoggi was not killed at all, but had been abducted. The Daily Mail cited an anonymous "source close to the Saudi royals" who claimed that Khashoggi had been abducted and taken alive to the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Khashoggi's fiancée also seems to think he could still be alive, telling CNN that "he may have been kidnapped, abducted, or some harm may have come to him."

"Images in the media point to the possibility of an abduction or an assassination. I hope that it does not turn out to be murder as alleged by these images," she added.

What did Corker say?

Corker told CNN's Manu Raju on Tuesday that he had talked with the Saudi ambassador about Khashoggi, but it was "not a great conversation."

Corker said that when he had asked for the CCTV footage inside the consulate, the Saudi ambassador had claimed that there was no footage because "they only livestream their tapes." Corker commented to CNN that he had "never heard of an embassy in my life that doesn't tape."

On Wednesday, Corker told reporters that the Senate would "take some action ourselves" over Khashoggi's disappearance.

"We need to take some type of action, and there are some things we can do congressionally," he said. "We plan to take some actions ourselves on this, something we can do without passing legislation."

In a tweet on Monday, Corker had promised that the U.S. would "respond accordingly to any state that targets journalists abroad."

President Donald Trump has also weighed in, calling the incident  "a very serious situation for us and this White House. I think we'll get to the bottom of it."

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