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05 December 2018, 06:40 | Darnell Patrick
GOP senators condemn Saudi crown prince for ordering Khashoggi killing
'I think he's insane.
Senators vowed yesterday to punish Saudi Arabia with further sanctions after a private briefing from the Central Intelligence Agency director convinced them that the country's crown prince had ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
Republican senators emerged from a briefing today about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing and essentially accused the Trump Administration of misleading the U.S. about it - and even covering it up for Saudi Arabia. Both officials took the position that there was not enough evidence to tie the killing to the crown prince. I think he is complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.
CIA Director Gina Haspel has briefed Senate leaders on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as senators weigh punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing. "There's not a smoking gun but a smoking saw".
"If they were in a Democratic administration", Graham said of Pompeo and Mattis, "I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia". "I think he is risky, and he has put the relationship at risk".
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who demanded the briefing with Haspel, said there is "zero chance" the crown prince wasn't involved in Khashoggi's death. The kingdom implicated some of the crown prince's associates in the murder and Saudi authorities later detained several high-ranking officials.
Top Republicans in the United States are attacking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for ordering the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in October.
Last week, 14 of Mr Trump's fellow Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate and rarely break from the President, defied his wishes and voted with Democrats to advance a measure that would end USA support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.
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Sen. Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he now has "zero question" in his mind "that the crown prince directed the murder". Corker. Asked why the briefing was limited, he said, "I don't know".
National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared uninterested last week in an audio recording of the killing that Turkish investigators shared with the US intelligence community.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Congress is looking for an "appropriate" response to Khashoggi's murder, but said the US needs to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
The Trump Administration has called Saudi Arabia a "great ally" and defended Washington's relationship with Riyadh, despite Khashoggi's murder drawing a significant backlash from the political right. However, the CIA's findings have not been made public and President Trump has equivocated over who was to blame.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis had told senators last week there was no direct evidence of the crown prince's involvement.
Senators including Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., still want Haspel to brief the entire Senate on the matter. 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 U.S. support for the Saudi coalition's war in Yemen.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is furious with the intelligence agencies for "withholding" information from Congress.
"Were there text messages sent back from the killers to the crown prince's office?"
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