'Zero' doubt Saudi crown prince directed Khashoggi murder: GOP senators

Republican senator Lindsey Graham said there's a

He also said that Haspel "should brief the full Senate without delay".

Istanbul's chief prosecutor has filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide to Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and the deputy head of foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, two Turkish officials said on Wednesday.

"I left the briefing with high confidence that my initial confidence is correct", said Sen.

In some of their strongest accusations to date, lawmakers said evidence presented by the USA spy agency overwhelmingly pointed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement in the assassination.

Graham added: "You have to be wilfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organised by people under the command of MBS".

Corker was one of several lawmakers who emerged from a small briefing with the Central Intelligence Agency director appearing convinced of the prince's responsibility for the killing. The Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing US backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

After the briefing with Haspel, South Carolina Republican Sen.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday complained that the deep state is keeping lawmakers in the dark about Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this year.

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

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

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 U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.

After the briefing, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said the United States must have strong response to Yemen war and Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

Senator Graham is also introducing a separate resolution to officially blame the Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi's death. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) resolution to end USA military support for the Saudi kingdom's assault on Yemen.

Saudi Arabia has said the prince had no prior knowledge of the murder.

Khashoggi's murder is a rare example of Senate Republicans-at least some of them-parting company with the Trump Administration on foreign policy.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the Appropriations Committee chairman, echoed that "all evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince".

But Graham said he would not support the joint resolution that would cut off military support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

Questioning Trump is not unprecedented for Republicans in Congress; the fact that they are going there on Pompeo and even Mattis, who is perhaps the most bipartisan figure in the Administration, shows the severe degree of concern about the lack of consequences.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the National Petroleum Council on Tuesday that he plans to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar, though he didn't give a timetable for the trip.




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