US-Saudi relations hit snag over journalist's disappearance

PHOTO: Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist, author and the former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al Arab News Channel

WASHINGTON (AP) Donald Trump soaked up the grandeur of Saudi Arabia on his first foreign stop as president last year and envisioned huge benefits for the U.S. in building closer ties with the kingdom.

Now, White House relations with Riyadh are imperiled over the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi columnist for The Washington Post who vanished after walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get documents for his upcoming marriage.

The kingdom says Turkey's claim Jamal Khashoggi was killed by a Saudi hit squad is "baseless."

But if Saudi Arabia is found to be complicit in his disappearance, the U.S.-Saudi relationship - and even hopes for Middle East peace - could be upended. And there are new calls in Congress for the U.S. to halt arms sales to the kingdom.