Graham Breaks With Trump: 'Zero Chance' MBS Wasn't Involved In Khashoggi Murder

Thursday, 06 Dec, 2018

"I think the secretary of defense and secretary of state are in a bad spot because the president has given this bear hug to MBS and to the entire Saudi regime so they are bound to carry out his freaky policy", Murphy said, using an acronym for the crown prince.

Stewart was defending President Donald Trump's tepid response to Khashoggi's death.

"If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a awful mistake", Trump said on November 20, when he released a lengthy statement.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had told senators last week there was no direct evidence of the crown prince's involvement. Initially, Saudi authorities had said Khashoggi, who had written articles critical of the crown prince's policies, had disappeared, after safely leaving the consulate.

Fourteen Republicans voted to move it forward, heaping pressure on Trump to act. Members of that chamber are scheduled to receive a briefing from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on December 13, according to a House aide.

Thus, every time the White House tries to put the matter to rest, it only appears to inflame the issue, which is also fueling support for a push to end USA involvement in the war in Yemen.

"You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under command of MBS, and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi".

Saudi authorities have previously said the agents who killed Khashoggi exceeded their authority.

But two key senators from Trump's own Republican party said Tuesday that a briefing by the CIA's director had strengthened their conviction that Prince Mohammed directed the murder. If he was in front of a jury he would have a unanimous verdict in 30 minutes.

Senators from both parties were angry last week that Haspel didn't attend a closed-door session with top administration officials about Khashoggi's killing and the USA response, which many senators have said is lacking.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event", Trump said in a lengthy statement November 20.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage. "I can not support arm sales to Saudi Arabia as long as he's in charge".

The war is widely seen as a stalemate and Yemen, an impoverished country even in times of peace, is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Following the sanctions, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the case of Khashoggi's murder is still not closed.

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel.

"I would really question someone's judgment if they couldn't figure this out", Graham continued. But the Senate could vote to end that arms sale or end USA support of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen.

"Somebody should be punished, but the question is: How do you separate the Saudi crown prince from the nation itself?"

Following online backlash to his comments, Stewart released an additional statement and said the murder of any journalist can not be brushed aside.