The developments were preceded by media reports citing Turkish investigators as claiming the journalist was murdered inside the consulate.
Richard LeBaron, a former USA ambassador to Saudi Arabia's neighbour Kuwait and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said Riyadh had "various ways" of responding to punitive measures.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to sit down with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman later on Tuesday after talks with King Salman in Riyadh to discuss the disappearance of Khashoggi. A team arrived by unmarked police cars at the consulate but said nothing to journalists waiting outside as they entered the building.
What evidence Turkish officials gathered at the consulate remains unknown.
CNN reported that the Saudis were going to admit the killing happened but deny the king or crown prince had ordered it - which does not match what analysts and experts know about the kingdom's inner workings.
Amidst global outrage, CNN on Monday reported that the Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong.
Khashoggi is feared to have been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The kingdom has not responded to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press. The president said the king denied any knowledge of what had happened to Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who had been critical of the crown prince.
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"It depends on how well they cleaned it up", Prinz told the AP.
Several hours before the searchers arrived, journalists spotted a cleaning crew going inside the consulate.
Members of the United States congress - both Democrat and Republican - could vote to block arms sales to Riyadh, and the White House would be under pressure to punish Saudi individuals if they were proven to have played a role in Khashoggi's disappearance. Certain areas of the consulate were to remain off-limits, although officials would be able to inspect surveillance cameras, Turkish media reported.
He has not been seen since he walked into the Istanbul consulate - officially Saudi territory - to sort out marriage paperwork on October 2. On Monday, the Glover Park Group, which had a $150,000-per-month contract to represent the Saudi government, and the BGR Group, with an $80,000-per-month contract, both ended the relationships, according to people familiar with the situations.
That has firmed up a growing belief in Western circles that the prince who fueled a war in Yemen to the point of humanitarian disaster, imposed an intemperate blockade against Qatar, arrested a clutch of Saudi elites for money and took two weeks to come up with a passable explanation for Khashoggi's fate is not ready for the throne.
Prince Mohammed has aggressively pitched the kingdom as a destination for foreign investment. Executive Chairman Bill Ford.
Trump has said that were the Saudis to take their defence spending and "spend it in Russian Federation or China or someplace else", it could cost the US$110 billion in lost weapons sales.
Trump's warning drew an angry response Sunday from Saudi Arabia and its state-linked media, including a suggestion that Riyadh could wield its oil production as a weapon. The US president has been after King Salman and OPEC to boost production for weeks to drive down high crude oil prices, caused in part by the coming re-imposition of oil sanctions on Iran after the US withdrawal from that's country's nuclear deal with world powers.