Senator Lindsey Graham believes Saudi prince 'orchestrated' murder

Jamal Khashoggi

Jamal Khashoggi

Bob Corker said he had "zero question in my mind" it was Prince Salman, and Lindsey Graham said the "crazy" crown prince was "complicit" to the "highest level possible".

Khashoggi was killed October 2 in what US officials have described as an elaborate plot at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, which he had visited for marriage paperwork.

There are several proposals in the works, including freezes on all USA arms sales to Riyadh and tightening sanctions on those involved in Khashoggi's murder.

Mattis and Pompeo have defended the strategic relationship and downplayed the crown prince's ties to the murder.

But senator after senator leaving the Central Intelligence Agency briefing said there's no doubt that bin Salman was involved, adding that the United States can not ignore the matter. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, "All evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince". "That might be the real policy question". "Looking the other way is not appropriate but a complete fracture with Saudi Arabia in my view is not in our best interest long term".

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC who has often been a Trump ally, said the only conclusion was that Prince Mohammed, known as MBS, is responsible for the killing.

The Tennessee Republican said that with the schedule changes necessitated by the funeral of President George H.W. Bush, floor debate would most likely come up on Monday, Dec. 10. "There's a smoking saw", Graham said.

Two weeks ago Trump said, "I don't know. I don't think that ultimately saves lives in the way that the underlying bill does". Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) resolution to end US military support for the Saudi kingdom's assault on Yemen.

And a Saudi embassy spokesperson tweeted Tuesday: "At no time did HRH (His Royal Highness) the Crown Prince correspond with any Saudi officials in any government entity on harming Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen".

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel.

The rank and file were excluded, though, and Sen.

In a statement attempting to clarify his comments later in the day, Stewart said: "We can not brush aside the murder of any journalist, and I have always said that those who are responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi should be held responsible". His comments came after CIA Director Gina Haspel gave a classified briefing to senators about the murder. "I'm not going to blow past this", he said.

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. There are eight people in Congress who get briefings on intelligence.

Some senators have complained about the way the briefing was handled today, including Kentucky Sen.

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

"Every senator should hear what I heard this afternoon", Durbin said.

Bachelet, asked at news conference in Geneva about the need for an global inquiry, replied: "I do believe it is really needed in terms of ensuring what really happened and who are the (people) responsible for that terrible killing".

Asked if the prince is responsible for Khashoggi's death, Durbin answered with one word: "Yes".

It said the 81-year-old president, whose health has been fragile since he suffered a stroke in 2013 and is rarely seen in public, was "in bed with a heavy flu".

Some senators emphasized the need to find a balanced response.

Corker said senators are trying to figure out how to amend the resolution, which directs the president to remove most USA armed forces from hostilities affecting Yemen. "That's what the Senate needs help on, and I am open to all suggestions on how to do that".

Tuesday's briefing comes as the Senate weighs punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing. The briefing included Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.

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