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

05 December, 2018, 05:00 | Author: Carlos George
  • Republican senator Lindsey Graham said there's a

Leading U.S. senators said Tuesday they are more certain than ever that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is culpable in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The President and his top diplomatic and military Cabinet heads have dismissed notions of certainty around the Khashoggi killing and declined to blame Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the October slaying.

"If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes", Corker said.

CIA Director Gina Haspel has briefed Senate leaders on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as senators weigh punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing.

They said the "whole world is certain that he ordered a awful crime against the journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

Graham had said that "there's a smoking saw" implicating MBS, adding that anyone who would deny his involvement at this point is "willfully blind".

Like a previous stop in Tunis, the crown prince's visit has drawn criticism from political and academic circles in Algeria over the Saudi-led war in Yemen and Washington Post columnist Khashoggi's grisly murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said after a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi that the administration was making the "wrong calculation" in declining to blame the de facto Saudi leader.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit
RICARDO MAZALAN APSaudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" "It is zero chance - zero - that this happened without the crown prince".

"If they were in a Democratic administration", Graham said of Pompeo and Mattis, "I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia".

Haspel is also expected to brief leaders and top committee members of the House within the next two weeks on Khashoggi's killing, a source familiar with the plans told Reuters.

When asked if he thought Haspel's briefing had changed any minds, Sen.

US intelligence officials have concluded that the crown prince must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame. Legislators have vowed to punish Saudi Arabia, proposing a measure which would remove USA support for the Saudis in the civil war in Yemen. He said finding a compromise will be hard because some lawmakers don't want to tie Yemen to the Khashoggi killing.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal today, Graham wrote that the killing and other moves by the Saudi regime showed "astounding arrogance entitlement" and disregard for worldwide norms. He said he would "question somebody's judgment if they couldn't figure this out".

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

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