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

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Senate Foreign Relations chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) says Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wouldn't last very long in a court of law if he ever stood trial for Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

"If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man for a long time to come I find it very hard to do business because I think he's insane, I think he is risky and he has put the relationship at risk".

The explosive new declarations by members of President Donald Trump's party run counter to the White House narrative downplaying possible links between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the October killing of journalist and palace critic Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

Corker, who is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several lawmakers who expressed rage at Salman after a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Echoing Trump's public comments on the killing, Pompeo said after last week's briefing with senators that there was "no direct reporting" connecting the crown prince to the murder.

Trump has repeatedly cast doubts over the U.S. intelligence agency's assessment, however, while Saudi officials have repeatedly denied that the crown prince had any knowledge of Khashoggi's murder or its subsequent cover-up.

Saudi authorities have vehemently denied the crown prince was involved.

A Senate source said Senate leaders would also participate in the briefing, which is scheduled for 11.30am ET.

National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared uninterested last week in an audio recording of the killing that Turkish investigators shared with the USA intelligence community.

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.'

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Haspel would conduct a briefing. The CIA has concluded that the crown prince personally ordered Khashoggi's killing, according to a senior USA official and a source familiar with the matter.

Graham voted for a resolution last week that would cancel US support for Saudi Arabia's involvement in the civil war in Yemen. He has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the US and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices.

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans.

"If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a awful mistake", Trump said on November 20, when he released a lengthy statement.

He also said that Haspel "should brief the full Senate without delay".

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

"The very definition of a "deep state" is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress", said Paul.

"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said. "We're with Saudi Arabia".

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