CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

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Leading U.S. senators said on Tuesday they were more certain than ever that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was culpable in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after receiving a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on the matter.

New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez said he was "more convinced" than he was before that the US needed to reconsider its close ties to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the Central Intelligence Agency briefing, while South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham told reporters that "it's not a smoking gun, it's a smoking saw", in reference to Khashoggi's alleged dismemberment using such a tool. "I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, to the highest level possible", Graham told reporters after he came out of the meeting with Haspel.

A USA senator has attacked Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - describing him as insane, dangerous, a wrecking ball, and "complicit in the murder" of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Some lawmakers were angry Haspel did not participate in a Senate briefing by Trump administration officials last week on Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Trump administration has said that there is no "direct evidence" of the prince's culpability, with the defence secretary James Mattis, insisting there was no "smoking gun". Graham was expected to attend Tuesday's meeting, along with the top Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Armed Services, Foreign Relations and intelligence panels and a few others.

Asked if he would be convicted of murder, Senator Corker replied: "Yes".

Last week's vote set up debate on Senate passage of the Yemen resolution, which could happen next week.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham described the Saudi crwon prince as "crazy" and "dangerous" after the briefing.

Sen. Bob Corker says a jury would find the Saudi crown prince 'in about 30 minutes.'
Sen. Bob Corker says a jury would find the Saudi crown prince 'in about 30 minutes.'

Meanwhile, previously reported that President Trump vowed not to listen to the audio evidence revealing the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.

USA intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot.

Graham also said that he would not support the current US military efforts to support Saudi Arabia in its war against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event", Trump said in a lengthy statement November 20.

"Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally, and the relationship is worth saving".

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans.

Graham said that you'd have to be "willfully blind" to not know Mohammed was responsible - a clear rebuke of Trump's argument that this whole thing resides in some kind of grey area.

But, Stewart said, the United States has to continue relationships with those countries. The House hasn't moved on the issue, and Speaker Paul Ryan last week said the Yemen resolution "isn't the way to go".

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