A Saudi agent dressed up in slain Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's clothes in a botched attempt to cover up his killing at a consulate in Istanbul.
Surveillance video obtained by CNN appears to show one of the 15 Saudi agents who traveled to Turkey as part of the operation leaving the Saudi consulate wearing the murdered journalist's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.
Turkish investigators told the network the man dressed as Khashoggi was later seen at the famous Blue Mosque hours after he was killed inside the consulate.
"Khashoggi's clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on," a Turkish official told the network.
Turkish officials identified the agent as Mustafa al-Madani, who was part of the “hit squad” sent to the country to kill Khashoggi as he appeared for an appointment to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding.
The revelation comes as Saudi Arabia continues to change its story on the Washington Post columnist's murder. After first denying that Khashoggi had disappeared and later denying any responsibility for his disappearances, the country now claims the death was the result of a “fistfight” during an argument despite Turkish officials claiming the 15 Saudis sent to the country were a “hit squad” armed with a bone saw believed to have been used to dismember the journalist.
A Saudi official told CNN that Khashoggi died after being put in a chokehold.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir later admitted on Fox News that the death was a “murder” but added it was a “tremendous mistake” and also said Saudi officials "don't know where the body is."
"We are determined to uncover every stone. We are determined to find out all the facts. And we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder," he told Fox.
But the body double cover-up attempt shows the death was no accident, Turkish officials say.
"You don't need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation," a Turkish investigator told CNN.
"Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate."
Saudi Arabia has since ousted its deputy intelligence chief and detained 18 people they claim are responsible for the death.
Despite mounting evidence that the murder was ordered by Saudi leaders, President Donald Trump has continued to waffle on his response to the killing and has backed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"He’s a strong person,” Trump told The Washington Post Saturday. “He has very good control. . . . He’s seen as a person who can keep things under check. I mean that in a positive way.”
But the brazen international murder is so egregious that even the president's core backers, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, have been pleading for Trump not to let the kingdom get away with it.
“It’s insulting to anyone who’s analyzing this with any kind of intelligent background to think that, oh, a fistfight led to a dismemberment with a bone saw,” Paul said in an interview with Fox News.
“This is one of the most important moments of his presidency,” Graham told The Post. “He has to lead from the front. He has to be the one to make the case above all others that this is unacceptable and that our values are the underpinning of our foreign policy.”
Trump has repeatedly suggested he is hesitant to act because of an arms deal with the Saudis.
“It’s equally important to understand that our values are more important than money and jobs,” Graham warned. “One thing we don’t want to do is lose our moral voice. That’s more important to the world than anything. We’re not the policeman of the world, but we’re the glue that holds it together.”
Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, agreed in an interview with CNN that the president cannot allow the Saudis to set such a dangerous precedent.
“What we don’t want is a ruler that’s going to be around for 40 or 50 years going around the world continuing to conduct operations like this,” Corker said. “And so, collectively, we have got to deal with this in an appropriate way.”
As time has gone on, Trump has been more willing to admit that there was a cover-up in the murder.
“Obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies,” Trump told The Post, before insisting that the crown prince was not to blame.
“Nobody has told me he’s responsible,” he said. “Nobody has told me he’s not responsible. We haven’t reached that point. . . . I would love if he wasn’t responsible.”