Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Khashoggi solidifies senators’ view of Prince Mohammed’s complicity

Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Khashoggi solidifies senators’ view of Prince Mohammed’s complicity

On Wednesday, a group of US senators defied the White House and introduced a resolution that would hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the journalist's murder. It would also pressure US President Donald Trump to decide whether to veto the measure. Lindsey Graham said on Tuesday, referring to reports that the Saudi team that killed Khashoggi used a bone saw to dismember him.

Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

A sizable number of senators on both sides of the aisle have rejected the administration's handling of the Khashoggi killing.

Turkish officials have searched the consulate, the consul-general's residence, a forest in Istanbul and two villas in the northwestern province of Yalova, but Khashoggi's remains have still not been found.

There remained no question among most senators on Tuesday after the closed-door briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel that Mohammed was directly connected to the killing. Sen.

The CIA had already concluded with high confidence that the prince was behind the murder, but senators said Haspel provided a much more fulsome briefing than the one they had gotten from Cabinet officials, including new evidence.

Some senators emphasized the need to find a balanced response.

"All evidence is pointing to MBS [Mohammed bin Salman] in this horrific murder, and there is no exculpatory evidence that's been provided by anyone - it's not there, there's a reason for that", Colorado Republican Cory Gardner told VOA.

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 its foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, two Turkish officials said yesterday.

"Symbols matter", Virginia Democrat Tim Kaine said.

Republican House leaders haven't indicated they will take up any of the measures, meaning any action by the Senate is likely to be symbolic, for now. Pompeo said there was "no direct reporting" connecting the crown prince to the murder, and Mattis said there was "no smoking gun" making the connection. John Cornyn, R-Texas, talks with reporters on Capitol Hill, Oct. 11, 2018 in Washington.

Because of the nature of the legislation, a war powers resolution which is hard to amend, those who want to explicitly rebuke MBS - who the Central Intelligence Agency has assessed to have ordered the killing of the journalist - say they will now have to wait until early next year.

Thus, every time the White House tries to put the matter to rest, it only appears to inflame the issue, which is also fueling support for a push to end USA involvement in the war in Yemen.

Cornyn added that the United States and Saudi Arabia have shared interests, including "containing terrorism and containing Iran".

But worldwide outrage over the journalist's murder has forced higher education institutions, USA businesses, and Congress to reconsider their alliances with Saudi Arabia and turned the spotlight on the Yemen conflict.

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