Graham, Corker Say Clear Saudi Crown Prince Culpable in Khashoggi's Death

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball.

CIA Director Gina Haspel addressed an audience in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 24.

Republican Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) downplayed Saudi Arabia's alleged killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi during an appearance on CNN today, despite top Senate Republicans declaring they have no doubt Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was behind the murder. "Guilty", Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who now chairs the Foreign Relations committee, said after the briefing. Graham said Tuesday the difference between the Haspel briefing and the one last week was "like darkness and sunshine" in terms of shedding light on MBS's involvement in Khashoggi's killing.

There's not a smoking gun.

Top senators eager to target Saudi Arabia over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi plan to meet Thursday to try to cut a bipartisan deal curtailing U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen, suspend arms sales with the Saudi kingdom and rebuke the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

The Post reported on 16 November that the CIA's conclusion that the crown prince, known as MBS, ordered Khashoggi's murder came after it examined several pieces of intelligence, including an intercepted phone call between Khalid and the journalist. That has frustrated senators who are now looking for ways to punish Saudi Arabia. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) resolution to end USA military support for the Saudi kingdom's assault on Yemen.

It's unclear whether or how that resolution will move forward.

Some rank-and-file senators were furious that they were excluded from the briefing.

He went on to suggest that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis were being "technical" "good soldiers" for the goals of the Trump administration. President Donald Trump has equivocated over who is to blame.

After that briefing, Graham threatened to withhold his vote on key legislation until he heard from Haspel. "I just don´t know what it is going to be, or who will be implicated, but we will follow it as far as we can". 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.

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"I think the very definition of the deep state is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress".

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder ... zero question", Corker said.

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has not responded to a request for comment on whether Haspel should brief the full chamber.

"I think we have lost a lot of our moral high ground", McCaskill said on the day of the vote.

"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 be able to do business, because I think he's insane, I think he is unsafe", he said.

Khashoggi was killed two months ago. "And at the same time what is protecting US interests, what is going to counter Shia extremists; what will help bring stability; what will help bring an end to the war in Yemen". He was killed in what USA officials have described as an elaborate plot as he visited the consulate for marriage paperwork. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!". "I can not support arm sales to Saudi Arabia as long as he's in charge". "It doesn't matter if journalists have been killed in other countries".

Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder.

"If our government knows that Saudi leaders were involved in the murder of a United States resident, why shouldn't the public know this?"

There, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced sanctions targeting 17 people "responsible for or complicit in" Khashoggi's murder. Corker said it's going to be hard to determine what measure the Senate can pass with overwhelming support.

Erdogan has said that solving the Khashoggi killing would also be in the interest of the Saudi monarchy. "We're trying to get everything together so we do something constructive".

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