GOP senators turn up heat on Saudi prince following CIA's Khashoggi briefing

Wednesday, 05 Dec, 2018

After a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel, Senate leaders promptly declared Tuesday they were convinced that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Prince Mohammed, who has been making his first foreign tour since the October 2 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, held talks instead with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, Algeria's presidency said.

Lindsey Graham of SC told reporters after receiving a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel.

In a statement attempting to clarify his comments later in the day, Stewart said: "We can not brush aside the murder of any journalist, and I have always said that those who are responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi should be held responsible".

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", said Graham, adding that anyone who would deny bin Salman's involvement at this point is "willfully blind". Lindsey Graham after the meeting, referring to the grisly conclusion that the journalist's body had been cut up with a bone saw after his death.

They said the "whole world is certain that he ordered a bad crime against the journalist Jamal Khashoggi". Trump exclaimed, before citing the kingdom's commitment to buy US arms as rationale for not punishing the Saudi government for the killing. "Prince Mohammed. he really was the original El Chapo, literally", said Louisiana Senator John Kennedy on Tuesday as US President Donald Trump was under pressure for maintaining support for the murderous prince.

The senators were reportedly not allowed to disclose details of what they were told, but their reaction reinforced reports that the Central Intelligence Agency had accumulated substantial evidence that the crown prince was behind the murder.

He cited last week's Senate briefing from Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week that suggested the crown price was not involved.

Sen. Bob Corker says a jury would find the Saudi crown prince 'in about 30 minutes.'
Sen. Bob Corker says a jury would find the Saudi crown prince 'in about 30 minutes.'

"If MBS were in front of a jury he'd be convicted in less than 30 minutes".

Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments - and a long and unusual statement last week - he reinforced the United States' long alliance with the Saudis.

Senators are "trying to figure out an amendment that a larger group of people could get behind that addresses this issue without undermining our national interests", Corker said.

Graham wrote in the Journal that "it is important for Congress to signal that there is no excuse for recent Saudi behavior". He said, while also noting, "We're with Saudi Arabia".

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.

"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said.

Even if the Yemen resolution passes the Senate, it appears unlikely to advance in the House.