CIA Director Gina Haspel To Brief Senators On Jamal Khashoggi Killing

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

CIA Director Gina Haspel To Brief Senators On Jamal Khashoggi Killing

Top senators said Tuesday that they were convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the torture and killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - with one saying "there's a smoking saw" in the case against him.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said there are still ongoing negotiations over amendments to the resolution.

In his bid to pressure the Trump administration to condemn the Crown Prince, Senator Graham said there may not be a "smoking gun", but that there was a "smoking saw", a reference to a bone saw that investigators said was used to cut up Khashoggi's body.

Prince Mohammed, who has been making his first foreign tour since the October 2 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, held talks instead with Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, Algeria's presidency said. Graham has also pushed for the Magnitsky Act sanctions issued against the 15 assassins to be extended to the crown prince as well.

A Senate source said Senate leaders would also participate in the briefing, which is scheduled for 11.30am ET. It was shown to the jury during Guzman's trial there and filed as evidence by the US government.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters after attending a closed-door briefing on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by CIA Director Gina Haspel.

"It's wrong for the Central Intelligence Agency to have expressed a conclusion that the crown prince was involved in the killing of Khashoggi and then withhold that information", he told reporters.

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.'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, told The Wall Street Journal on Monday that "no response is certainly not appropriate".

The president has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the US and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices.

While Saudi Arabia and the crown prince "are two different entities", Graham said the relationship between Washington and Riyahd was imperiled due to MBS's control of the Saudi government.

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans. The senator had previously said he would refuse to take a position on the question before hearing Haspel's testimony on the spy agency's findings, which differ from the positions voiced by the Trump administration. "But a complete fracture with Saudi Arabia, in my view, is not in our best interests".

But, Stewart said, the United States has to continue relationships with those countries.

"This is the very definition of the deep state", Paul told Fox News.

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.

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