Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

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

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

The explosive new declarations by members of President Donald Trump's own party run counter to the White House narrative downplaying possible links between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the October killing of journalist and palace critic Khashoggi at the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening", Sen.

"If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes", Corker said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Congress is looking for an "appropriate" response to Khashoggi's murder, but said the US needs to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Graham was also asked about Pompeo's comments and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis' comments that there was no "smoking gun".

Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and American resident, was murdered and dismembered minutes after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey on October 2 - allegedly on orders from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after the behind-closed-doors briefing.

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These senators are serving notice that they won't back down without a fight - a fight that could tar both Pompeo's and Mattis' legacies.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is driven to a meeting with Algerian Prime Minister upon the crown prince's arrival in Algiers, Algeria, on December 2. 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. "I'm not going to blow past this", he said. The senator had previously said he would refuse to take a position on the question before hearing Haspel's testimony on the spy agency's findings, which differ from the positions voiced by the Trump administration.

"Was there a phone conversation between the crown prince and the killers?" said Paul, about what he would have asked the Central Intelligence Agency director had he been allowed into the briefing.

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

USA intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot.

In a column for the Wall Street Journal today, Graham wrote that the killing and other moves by the Saudi regime showed "astounding arrogance entitlement" and disregard for global norms. Graham invoked the memory of the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), saying that if he were alive "I believe he would be standing with me today, leading the charge to come down like a ton of bricks" on bin Salman for the threat he's posed to the U.S. -Saudi relationship and actions which have "destabilized the region".

"They're all in with the crown prince", Menendez said. "We're with Saudi Arabia".

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