But Trump again emphasised Riyadh's role in countering regional rival Iran and the importance that lucrative USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia have for American jobs.Khashoggi, a US resident, went missing after entering the consulate on October 2 to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.
Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud meets with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 16, 2018.
According to a recent report by French outlet Le Figaro, the Saudi royal family is considering replacing MBS, as he is also known, to defuse the deepening crisis that the kingdom's reputation has suffered since the disappearance and murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
He was sacked in December 2015 - after which he reportedly returned to Saudi Arabia and took a job there with the government.
Arabia had, until now, strenuously denied.The Saudi public prosecutor said on Saturday that a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.
The Washington Post newspaper reported on October 12 that the Turkish government had informed USA officials about audio and video recordings suggesting that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi after he entered the consulate, then murdered him and dismembered his body.
Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last Tuesday to get documents for his marriage, and Turkish sources have claimed that he was killed and that his body was disposed of in the nearby Belgrad forest.
Mr Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the United States economy.
The Saudi authorities have not yet said where his body is.
Saudi sources say Qahtani, said to be 40-years-old, steered online propaganda campaigns against the kingdom's adversaries such as Qatar and Iran on social media.
Saturday's comments are the first admission by the Saudi government that Khashoggi died.
Trump said he found the explanation credible.
"The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far".
But Khashoggi's Turkish fiancee Hatice Cengiz tweeted that her heart was "full of sorrow" over the confirmation of his death. According to official figures, the German government has authorized arms exports worth 254 million ($291 million) euros to Saudi Arabia since March.
While Middle Eastern allies closed ranks around the kingdom, Western reaction to the Saudi narrative varied.
"We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don't accept anything to remain covered (up)", said ruling Justice and Development Party spokesman Omer Celik.
Turkish police gather outside the residence of the Saudi consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi to conduct a search after the disappearance and alleged slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi, in Istanbul, Oct. 17, 2018.
Media reports said Pompeo heard the recording earlier in the week when he visited Turkey.
"As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a awful act and those responsible must be held to account".