'Zero' doubt Saudi crown prince directed Khashoggi murder: GOP senators

Hannah Rogers
December 5, 2018

"We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi", Trump said on November 20, indicating he'd spoken with the crown prince and his father, King Salman of Saudi Arabia, both of whom denied the accusations. "It's a smoking saw", Graham told reporters, referring to the bone saw allegedly used by Saudi authorities to dismember the journalist. There's a smoking saw- Sen.

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 over the killing, also attended the hour-long closed-door briefing, and minced no words afterwards. President Donald Trump has said stopping the sales would only help nations such as China and Russian Federation.

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.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

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 United States support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen. Senators overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing US backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Republican senators emerged from a briefing today about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing and essentially accused the Trump Administration of misleading the U.S. about it - and even covering it up for Saudi Arabia.

As recently as Wednesday, Secretary of State and former CIA Director Mike Pompeo argued that the agency he used to head found "no direct reporting" that linked Mohammed to the murder as he urged senators not to advance a measure that would cut USA support for Saudi Arabia's military campaign in Yemen, which has drawn further scrutiny in the wake of Khashoggi's death. Human rights groups say the war is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing. Asked if he would be convicted of murder, Corker replied "Yes".

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.'

Though Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke with senators ahead of the vote, which ultimately passed Wednesday, many lawmakers were upset that Haspel made no appearance.

"You can't chop up a guy in a consulate, particularly who's an American resident who's an opinion journalist for The Washington Post, and expect us to do nothing about it", said Graham.

"I went in believing the crown prince was directly responsible or at least complicit in this and my feelings were strengthened by the information we were given", Durbin said.

Trump has repeatedly said the evidence doesn't conclusively prove that bin Salman was involved in the assassination and suggested that he believes the prince's denials over the conclusions of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Yemen legislation could set up a bitter year-end Senate floor fight over US war powers.

The Senate could take a vote on proceeding to the Yemen resolution next week.

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