RNA - The comments from Mnuchin on Sunday are the latest from the administration of US President Donald Trump that appear aimed at condemning a murder that has sparked global outrage.
“It would be premature to comment on sanctions and premature to comment on really any issues until we get further down the investigation and get to the bottom of what occurred,” Mnuchin told reporters in Jerusalem al-Quds at the start of a Middle East visit.
On Tuesday, Mnuchin said he would not attend an upcoming high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia but still plans to visit Riyadh for talks with his Saudi counterpart about curbing Iran's political and military influence in the region.
International media and business executives have been pulling out of next week’s investment conference in Riyadh, known as “Davos of the desert,” indicating outrage over Khashoggi’s killing.
European governments, as well as some lawmakers in Trump’s own Republican Party, have been more forceful in dismissing Riyadh’s explanation that Khashoggi died following a fistfight in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.
Khashoggi, 59, went missing after entering the Saudi consulate to obtain documents for his upcoming marriage.
Growing international pressure and comments by US officials forced the kingdom to acknowledge Khashoggi's death after initially denying any involvement in his disappearance for two weeks.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday said the prominent journalist and critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had died during a fight in the building. An hour later, another Saudi official attributed the death to a chokehold.
Turkish officials suspect Khashoggi had been tortured and beheaded and his body was cut up into pieces.
Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist and lived in the US, having fled Saudi Arabia in September last year.
Trump has said that the consequences for the Saudis "will have to be very severe" if they are found to have killed Khashoggi, but has acknowledged he wants to protect Washington’s massive arms sale to the kingdom.
According to Press TV, Trump emphasized on Saturday that he was not satisfied with the Saudis' handling of the case, further raising questions over whether he would act to impose sanctions on Saudi officials believed to be behind Khashoggi's death.
The incident has grown into a public relations nightmare for the kingdom and the crown prince in particular.
So grave is the fallout from the murder of Khashoggi that Saudi King Salman has felt compelled to intervene, five sources with links to the Saudi royal family have told Reuters.
Initially the king, who has handed the day-to-day running of Saudi Arabia to his son, commonly known as MbS, was unaware of the extent of the crisis, according to two of the sources with knowledge of the ruling family.
"The king started asking aides and MbS about it. MbS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis," one of the source said.
Since he acceded to the throne in January 2015, the king has given MbS, 33, increasing authority to run Saudi Arabia. But the king's latest intervention reflects growing concern among some officials in Riyadh about MbS's fitness to govern, the five sources said.
"He has been living in an artificially-created bubble," said one of the sources. Lately, though, the king's advisers have grown frustrated and begun warning him of the risks of leaving the crown prince's power unchecked. "The people around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what's happening," the source said.