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Top GOP senators say 'zero' doubt Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi's death

05 December 2018
Top GOP senators say 'zero' doubt Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi's death

TRT World's Sally Ayhan has more. He said it seemed as though the White House's response to the Khashoggi killing was that "you can kill a journalist".

He added that the United States must send clear and unequivocal message to the Saudis and sanctions beyond what now exist against Riyadh would send that message.

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. I have not seen that intelligence, nor have I even seen the conclusions.

While Saudi Arabia and the crown prince "are two different entities", Graham said the relationship between Washington and Riyahd was imperiled due to MBS's control of the Saudi government.

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.

Graham's rage about the crown prince's involvement was shared by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee. She was notably absent from last week's Senate briefing, an omission seen by many lawmakers as an attempt by the Trump administration to deprive them of the spy agency's narrative of the events as they weighed opening debate on a resolution to end USA support for the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen.

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. Human rights groups say it is indiscriminately leading to civilian deaths.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit
RICARDO MAZALAN APSaudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was shunned by some leaders at the G20 summit

When asked if he thought Haspel's briefing had changed any minds, Sen. "So really, this is the deep state at work that your representatives don't know what's going on in the intelligence agencies", Paul said. They are also supporting legislation to end USA support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which the Trump administration opposes. The visit was confirmed by a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session. Rand Paul-who asserted that he shouldn't have been excluded from it and that the full Senate should have been briefed rather than strictly a handful of senators.

He said he was working with colleagues on how to amend the resolution, and he had not had suggestions from the Trump administration on how it might prefer to proceed. The journalist, who had lived for a time in the USA and wrote for The Washington Post, had been critical of the Saudi regime. He was killed in what USA officials have described as an elaborate plot as he visited the consulate for marriage paperwork.

Senators from both parties were upset that Haspel was not part of a closed-door session with top administration officials last week about Khashoggi's killing and the USA response.

He added on The Story with Martha MacCallum that "there's a certain price to be paid" if Saudi Arabia wants to remain an ally with the U.S.

"MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball [and] I think he is complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible".

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Haspel would conduct a briefing.