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

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

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

Leading US senators say they are more certain than ever Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after they received a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on the matter.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Sen.

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.

Graham added that his opinion on Saudi Arabia had changed and that he would no longer support the war in Yemen or arms sales between the USA and the kingdom until the issue was addressed.

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.'

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.

Khashoggi, a USA resident who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said he believes if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in "about 30 minutes".

Pompeo and Mattis tried to dissuade senators from punishing Saudi Arabia with the resolution, saying USA involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

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

Corker, who is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several lawmakers who expressed rage at Salman after a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel.

The Kentucky lawmaker was excluded from a group on Tuesday that met with CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Senators would not describe the evidence presented by Haspel.

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The G20 summit in Buenos Aires will be the first major worldwide event Prince Mohammed has attended since Mr Khashoggi's murder. Despite the findings, the report also said: "To be clear, we lack direct reporting of the Crown Prince issuing a kill order".

"I think Prince Mohammed gave the order, or at least he knew about it, to butcher Khashoggi".

The Senate is reportedly due to vote in the coming days on a measure that would cut off U.S. military support for Saudi military operations in Yemen.

Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments - and a long and unusual statement last week - he reinforced the United States' long alliance with the Saudis.

The Senate could take a vote on proceeding to the Yemen resolution next week.

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"I'm not going to destroy the world economy and I'm not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia", Trump said at the time. "And at the same time what is protecting US interests, what is going to counter Shia extremists; what will help bring stability; what will help bring an end to the war in Yemen". Asked if he would be convicted of murder, Corker replied "Yes".

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