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The Saudi Arabian government is considering a plan to admit that missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Istanbul, NBC News reported Monday.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the Saudi royal family, entered the consulate on Oct. 2 and has not been seen since. While the Saudis insisted that he left the consulate safely that day, Turkish officials claimed that he was murdered by a team of Saudi operatives while inside.
Now the Saudi government is reportedly discussing a change of stance, admitting that Khashoggi was killed in the consulate but denying that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered or even knew about the killing.
The kingdom could assert that Khashoggi was killed by rogue operatives in an interrogation gone wrong, among other possible explanations that they are considering, according to the report.
The U.S. has considered imposing sanctions on Saudi Arabia if it is found that they had a role in Khashoggi's disappearance, with President Donald Trump even threatening the country with "severe punishment." Many business leaders have also withdrawn from the Future Investment Initiative conference set to take place next week in the capital city of Riyadh.