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Khashoggi murder: CIA Director Gina Haspel briefs senators on Khashoggi killing today

Khashoggi murder: CIA Director Gina Haspel briefs senators on Khashoggi killing today

After a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel, Senate leaders promptly declared Tuesday they were convinced that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"It's a smoking saw", Graham told reporters, referring to the bone saw allegedly used by Saudi authorities to dismember the journalist.

Sen. Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN after a briefing with Haspel that the prince, known as MBS, "ordered, monitored, the killing" of the father of four. "If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes". Mattis said there was no "smoking gun" implicating the Saudi crown prince.

Some lawmakers were angry Haspel did not participate in a Senate briefing by Trump administration officials last week on Khashoggi's death at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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.'

On Tuesday Graham swatted their assessment aside.

Senators from both parties were angry last week that Haspel didn't attend a closed-door session with top administration officials about Khashoggi's killing and the US response, which many senators have said is lacking. The Senate ultimately passed that measure by a very wide margin, and debate on the resolution itself is expected to begin soon. "It is zero chance - zero - that this happened without the crown prince... you have to be willfully blind" to believe he wasn't involved, Graham said.

"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".

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has already established himself as a Trump critic, was even bolder in his criticism. It was shown to the jury during Guzman's trial there and filed as evidence by the US government. The kingdom implicated some of the crown prince's associates in the murder and Saudi authorities later detained several high-ranking officials.

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They said the "whole world is certain that he ordered a awful crime against the journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

The president has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the USA and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices.

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans. Trump said in a statement on 20 November.

While acknowledging the country's long relationship with Saudi Arabia, senators have said the murder can't be excused.

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"The very definition of a "deep state" is when the intelligence communities withhold information from Congress", he said.

Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said after the briefing that somebody should be punished.

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