‘A Smoking Saw’: US Senators Leave CIA Briefing Convinced MBS Killed Khashoggi

Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham

Two key U.S. Republican senators said Tuesday after a briefing by the CIA's director that they have "zero" doubt Saudi Arabia's crown prince directed the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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.

Khashoggi was killed October 2 in what USA officials have described as an elaborate plot at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which he had visited for marriage paperwork. Turkey says a hit squad from Riyadh killed and dismembered him.

CIA Director Gina Haspel will give a closed briefing to leaders of several US Senate committees after she failed to take part in a Senate briefing by Trump administration officials on Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", said Republican Sen. "It is zero chance - zero - that this happened without the crown prince".

"Was there a phone conversation between the crown prince and the killers?" said Paul, about what he would have asked the Central Intelligence Agency director had he been allowed into the briefing.

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. If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes.

The vote on the Yemen resolution could come as early as Thursday and is expected to pass.

"There are lots of Republicans who are going to try to water this down, but they'll have to find 50 votes, and I'm not sure that they have 50 votes for a substitute".

USA newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, have reported that the Central Intelligence Agency has evidence that Prince Mohammed exchanged 11 messages with his close aide Saud al-Qahtani, who allegedly oversaw the murder, just before and after it took place.

The Trump administration has so far pledged to remain a steadfast supporter of the Saudi government, including MBS, the country's de facto leader, despite the murder of Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia maintains the crown prince did not know anything about the murder, which it claims was an accident. Graham and Paul have also said they think Congress should block a pending arms deal with the kingdom. Graham invoked the memory of the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), saying that if he were alive "I believe he would be standing with me today, leading the charge to come down like a ton of bricks" on bin Salman for the threat he's posed to the U.S. -Saudi relationship and actions which have "destabilized the region".

Senators are "trying to figure out an amendment that a larger group of people could get behind that addresses this issue without undermining our national interests", Corker said.

Oklahoma Joins Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame in College Football Playoff
Upon Further Review: Vikings at Patriots