Top senators briefed by Central Intelligence Agency blame Saudi prince for Khashoggi death

U.S. senators more certain than ever Saudi crown prince was behind Khashoggi killing

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he will push the Senate to vote on a resolution that finds Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman complicit in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There's not a smoking gun; there's a smoking saw", said Graham, referring to reports that Khashoggi's body was dismembered by a bone saw after he was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Mattis said there was no "smoking gun" implicating the Saudi crown prince.

Graham was convinced the administration was willfully ignoring the evidence linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with Khashoggi's death to avoid having to sever ties with the kingdom.

By contrast, US President Donald Trump's position, as summarized in his statement the following Tuesday, has been to take the crown prince at his word.

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.'

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) claimed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be convicted of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in "30 minutes" if there were a jury trial.

Pompeo and Mattis tried to dissuade senators from punishing Saudi Arabia with the resolution, saying USA involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that President Trump vowed not to listen to the audio evidence revealing the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.

Many Democrats want a "straight up or down vote" on a war powers resolution to end all USA support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen, without amendments.

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"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept apprised of the situation all the way through".

The CIA director briefed a small group of senators as they consider punishing America's Middle East ally.

Lindsey Graham, a Republican, made the blunt comments following a briefing from the Central Intelligence Agency about Mr Khashoggi, who was killed after he entered Saudi Arabia's consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul on 2 October.

Other senators, including Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) said the briefing confirmed their suspicions about bin Salman's involvement and agreed the U.S. must respond.

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Ms Haspel's absence from that briefing angered senators.

"I think Prince Mohammed gave the order, or at least he knew about it, to butcher Khashoggi".

Senate responds to Trump's support of Saudi Arabia with a bill that would pull USA support from Saudi-led forces fighting in Yemen; Lt. Col.

While Senate passage of a resolution would send a strong message to Saudi Arabia, it's unlikely it would become law before the end of the year. Asked by a reporter if it would be a murder conviction, Corker replied "yes".

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"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't", Trump said, but noted the strong USA interest in keeping Saudi Arabia as an ally and moving forward with a high-figure weapons deal that was helping American workers.

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