GOP senators condemn Saudi crown prince for ordering Khashoggi killing

05 December, 2018, 16:15 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

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. In November, the president said bin Salman may have had no knowledge of the killing, and in any event the us relationship with Saudi Arabia should not be jeopardized over it.

Fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a Trump ally who has joined a growing collection of lawmakers urging the president to take a far tougher stance against Riyadh, also attended the hour-long closed-door briefing, and minced no words afterwards.

Khashoggi, who was living near Washington and contributing to The Washington Post, was killed on October 2 when he went into the consulate for paperwork related to his planned marriage.

The CIA director met with a small group of senators, including the chairmen and ranking senators on the key national security committees.

He added that the U.S. must send clear and unequivocal message to the Saudis and sanctions beyond what now exist against Riyadh would send that message.

He said he was working with colleagues on how to amend the resolution, and he had not had suggestions from the Trump administration on how it might prefer to proceed. Pompeo said there was "no direct reporting" connecting the crown prince to the murder, and Mattis said there was "no smoking gun" making the connection.

Senators have demanded the White House be more forthcoming about intelligence gathered on the Khashoggi killing and have signaled they may back broader sanctions against the kingdom.

Last week's vote set up debate on Senate passage of the Yemen resolution, which could happen next week.

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The spy agency also analyzed other intercepted communications, listened to audio provided by Turkey from inside the consulate, and assessed that an audacious operation that involved killing a Saudi citizen in a foreign country could not have been executed without the crown prince's knowledge, people familiar with the CIA's conclusions said.

The Saudis have charged 11 people but deny that the crown prince was involved.

He added that he had a number of good questions he would have asked Haspel if he'd been included in the briefing.

"I think it would have been good to have the full Senate", said Sen.

Last week, 14 of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate and rarely break from the President, defied his wishes and voted with Democrats to advance a measure that would end USA support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.

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.

The South Carolina senator added that the Saudi crown prince was a "wrecking ball" and the United States should come down on the kingdom like a "ton of bricks". "I know about the information of the CIA's conclusions only by reading it in the media", Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out.

But Graham said he would not support the joint resolution that would cut off military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.



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