Sean Penn filming documentary on murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a forceful condemnation of the Saudi crown prince and the kingdom on Tuesday, breaking with President Trump and suggesting he would question the judgment of anyone who believed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not involved in Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage. After initially denying the murder, Riyadh has acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate but blamed his death on a "rogue" operation.

Khashoggi was a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist.

While the Trump administration has repeatedly distinguished Khashoggi's murder and the war in Yemen as separate issues, lawmakers are tying both together as a showcase of how blank-check support for Saudi Arabia erodes US moral standing.

The arrest application filed in Turkish courts asserted there is "strong suspicion" the two aides were involved in planning the killing, officials confirmed to ABC News.

Turkey has been seeking to extradite 18 suspects, including 15 members of an alleged assassination squad accused of murdering and dismembering the writer.

He stated, "I believe it's vitally important to US national security interests to make a definitive statement about the brutal murder of an American resident - Mr. Khashoggi - who has three American citizen children".

On Thursday, a bipartisan group of senators met on Capitol Hill to reach an agreement on how to target Saudi Arabia and its young leader in response to the murder, as well as the kingdom's controversial war in Yemen.

The senators said Haspel's briefing contradicted information from Trump, as well as Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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But the evidence shown to senators indicates otherwise, and there is now increased pressure on the White House to admit that the crown prince was responsible.

So far, President Trump has given the Saudi crown prince the benefit of the doubt about his role in the incident.

Graham and Democratic Sen.

Sen. Rand Paul, meanwhile, went to Twitter to voice his opinion, smashing the caps lock to say "ENOUGH!" in regards to Saudi Arabia's behavior.

The handful of prominent Republicans who openly broke with the administration over Khashoggi's killing on Tuesday after receiving a briefing by Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel, included South Carolina Sen.

"The prosecution's move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and Qahtani reflects the view that the Saudi authorities won't take formal action against those individuals", Reuters quoted one Turkish official as saying on December 5.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", said Graham, referring to reports that the Saudi team had included a forensic expert who arrived with equipment to dismember Khashoggi's body. "Guilty. A guilty verdict", Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

But Graham said he would not support the joint resolution that would cut off military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

  • Joey Payne