CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

U.S. senators more certain than ever Saudi crown prince was behind Khashoggi killing

At the G20 Summit in Argentina, Erdogan criticised Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for offering an "unbelievable explanation" on Khashoggi's killing that denied any Saudi official role.

It said the 81-year-old president, whose health has been fragile since he suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public, was "in bed with a heavy flu".

The senator said there was indeed a "smoking saw" - a reference to the reported bonesaw that was brought to dismember Khashoggi - and that Pompeo was being a "good soldier" by toeing the Administration's line.

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.'

Graham was convinced the administration was willfully ignoring the evidence linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman with Khashoggi's death to avoid having to sever ties with the kingdom.

Khashoggi, who was living near Washington and contributing to The Washington Post, was killed on October 2 when he went into the consulate for paperwork related to his planned marriage.

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed senators on what US intelligence agencies know about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, shook his head no.

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Tuesday's briefing comes as the Senate weighs punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing. However, the CIA's findings have not been made public and President Trump has equivocated over who was to blame. They are also supporting legislation to end USA support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which the Trump administration opposes.

Joining Corker in his denunciations was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will call for a Congressional resolution citing the Crown Prince as complicit in Khashoggi's murder.

After reports that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's assassination in the Istanbul consulate on Oct 2, Trump issued a statement saying US-Saudi relations and oil market stability were too important to rock over the scandal.

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The comments come ahead of a briefing expected to be held next Thursday by Trump administration officials, including secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis, to the House of Representative, according to Reuters.

US intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot. Graham voted in favor of the resolution.

But, Stewart said, the United States has to continue relationships with those countries. "Now the question is how do you separate the Saudi Crown Prince and his group from the nation itself?"

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Senate responds to Trump's support of Saudi Arabia with a bill that would pull US support from Saudi-led forces fighting in Yemen; Lt. Col. Asked by a reporter if it would be a murder conviction, Corker replied "yes".

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