'Crazy' crown prince is 'complicit' in Jamal Khashoggi killing, U.S. senator says

CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

Lawmakers briefed Tuesday by CIA Director Gina Haspel accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being responsible for the killing of Washington Post journalist and Indiana State University grad Jamal Khashoggi.

In some of their strongest accusations to date, lawmakers said evidence presented by the us spy agency overwhelmingly pointed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement in the assassination.

There was "zero question" that the young prince was behind the assassination, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Senator Graham added, citing the bone saw that was reportedly used on Khashoggi's body after his murder.

Khashoggi was killed in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate on October 2 by a team of 15 people consisting of Saudi officials who arrived in Turkey for his murder and a cover-up operation, including dismembering Khashoggi's body.

Republican Sen. Richard Shelby said he wouldn't rule out supporting the resolution this time when it comes up for a full vote.

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. "Now the question is how do you separate the Saudi Crown Prince and his group from the nation itself?"

They say Gina Haspel is to talk to Senate leaders leaders on Tuesday.

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Menendez spoke to reporters as he left a closed-door briefing for some Senate leaders by Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel.

Senators have demanded the White House be more forthcoming about intelligence gathered on the Khashoggi killing and have signaled they may back broader sanctions against the kingdom. "If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man for a long time to come I find it very hard to do business because I think he's insane, I think he is unsafe and he has put the relationship at risk".

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis led the earlier briefing and tried to dissuade senators from punishing Saudi Arabia with a resolution to curtail U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Ms Haspel annoyed Senators last week when she failed to appear before them when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis addressed the issue.

After that briefing, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham threatened to withhold his vote on key legislation until he heard from Haspel. The Saudis have charged 11 people over the killing.

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans. "That is an accurate statement, an important statement and it is a statement that we are making publicly today".

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, echoed his colleagues. "Because we've got a couple of very perplexing problems; the first is this and it's simple: We have to have a relationship with some players that we don't agree with".

Graham said he would not vote for the Yemen resolution.

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