'Smoking saw' points to Saudi crown prince's role in Jamal Khashoggi's murder


A bipartisan group of senior senators on Tuesday said that a classified briefing by the Central Intelligence Agency director had only solidified their belief that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, ordered the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

"I am now more convinced than I was before - and I was pretty convinced - that in fact the United States must have a strong response to both the war in Yemen as well as the killing of the United States permanent resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi", Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said.

Corker was among the senators who participated in a briefing earlier Tuesday with CIA Director Gina Haspel about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. "Guilty. A guilty verdict", Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

Graham said "you have to be willfully blind" not to conclude that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the crown prince's command.

Saudi Arabia has faced heightened pressure as a result of the murder of Khashoggi, a Saudi government critic and Washington Post columnist who was killed in the country's Istanbul consulate on 2 October.

"It's not a smoking gun, it's a smoking saw", said Sen.

Accusations that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing have put the Trump administration in a diplomatic bind.

Trump has made a concerted decision to avoid rebuking Saudi Arabia, claiming the kingdom's role in affecting global oil prices and its arms deals with the United States are more important to the national interest.

"Until now, we have patiently requested information about the investigations in Saudi Arabia but unfortunately we haven't received any information". The Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing US backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "is a wrecking ball".

"I do think there needs to be some public actions", Rubio said.

"I've read in the media that the Central Intelligence Agency has said with high confidence that the crown prince was involved with killing Khashoggi", Paul continued.

Senators had wanted a briefing from Haspel about the CIA's assessment that bin-Salman was behind the killing but the Trump administration had sent instead secretaries of state and defence Mike Pompeo and James Mattis to bring them. The resolution also calls on Riyadh to negotiate with representatives of the Houthi movement in Yemen in an effort to end that country's bloody civil war and subsequent humanitarian crisis.

He said that Saudi Arabia disrespected its relationship with the United States and needs to fix it. I have no question whatsoever now: "The crown prince directed the murder and was kept apprised of the situation all the way through". He said he would "question somebody's judgment if they couldn't figure this out".

Corker said senators are trying to figure out how to amend the resolution, which directs the president to remove most US armed forces from hostilities affecting Yemen.

But the White House's decision to make Haspel available-though only to a small group of recalcitrant senators-has backfired again, since it whetted the appetite of more senators for a briefing of their own.

Speaking to reporters after the briefing, Graham explained, "I went into the brief believing that it was virtually impossible for an operation like this to be carried out without the crown prince's knowledge".