Turkey seeks arrest of Saudi aides over Khashoggi death

The Kentucky lawmaker was excluded from a group on Tuesday that met with CIA Director Gina Haspel.

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.

Riyadh has continued to distance the prince from the murder and has been backed by Donald Trump's administration, which downplayed Prince Salman's possible connections to the killing.

Going against his own intelligence agency, and not for the first time, Trump has all but given a clean chit to the prince citing lack of clinching evidence, Saudi investments, touting a figure of around $400 billion and strategic help in combatting Iranian influence in the region.

Last week, Haspel did not attend a briefing about Khashoggi's killing that was given to all senators by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

After Haspel's briefing, the groundswell of certainty and disgust will likely complicate the administration's efforts to protect the prince and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, even as lawmakers remain divided about how to respond.

Fourteen Republicans voted to move it forward, heaping pressure on Trump to act.

"If someone said Secretary Mattis or Pompeo were dishonest, they just don't know those individuals", Stewart told CNN.

Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October. "We don't need smoking gun evidence, this is not a criminal trial".

On November 20, Trump issued an official statement on U.S./Saudi Arabia relations, emphasizing that he still considered the Saudi royal family valuable allies and had no interest in imposing any sanctions on the Saudi government. Chris Murphy, a Democrat Connecticut who co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the USA role in Yemen.

Haspel provided the closed briefing just days before the Senate is expected to begin debating a resolution to withdraw US support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen. If he were in front of a jury, "he would have a unanimous verdict in about 30 minutes".

Khashoggi was killed October 2 in what US officials have described as an elaborate plot at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which he had visited for marriage paperwork. And when a reporter asked Corker if it would be a murder conviction, he replied, "Yes". "I can not support arm sales to Saudi Arabia as long as he's in charge".

United States intelligence community assessments and experts said it's unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.

The fierce spat between the White House and Congress has fueled new levels of support for a resolution that would demand an end to US involvement in the war in Yemen-a push that could trigger an unprecedented showdown over the USA government's authority to wage war.

"I have always said that those responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi should be held responsible".

Rubio, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was not present at the briefing but said that he had existing knowledge of what was discussed during the briefing.

  • Joey Payne