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

06 December 2018

Today's comments from Turkish prosecutors come a day after senior US senators said they were more certain than ever that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi after receiving a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on the matter.

"I am now more convinced than I was before - and I was pretty convinced - that in fact the United States must have a strong response to both the war in Yemen as well as the killing" of Khashoggi, Senate Democrat Bob Menendez said.

USA lawmakers on Tuesday heard the CIA's assessment about Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman's role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi first hand from the agency's director, who confirmed and affirmed what they have long suspected. "Guilty. A guilty verdict", Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the briefing.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

"There's not a smoking gun - there's a smoking saw", Republican Sen.

The intelligence community, which President Trump has continued to ignore, concluded that Crown Prince bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi's murder.

The Saudi embassy in Washington confirmed that Khalid had returned to the US, NBC said, while a Saudi official said he was unable to attend the funeral because of a plane delay.

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Corker has been more of a Trump critic, but his suggestion the he feels last week's briefing wasn't on the up-and-up is also remarkable from a Republican.

"If someone is saying that Secretary Mattis or Secretary Pompeo were dishonest, they just don't know those individuals", Stewart said.

With many senators furious about being excluded from the briefing, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded Haspel "brief the full Senate without delay".

Many Democrats want a "straight up or down vote" on the resolution to end all United States support for the Saudi coalition in Yemen, without amendments.

Trump has said it's unknowable whether the Crown Prince was actually behind it - despite the Central Intelligence Agency concluding this with "high confidence" - while Pompeo said last week that there was no "direct reporting" implicating him.

"I disagree with that assessment" Rubio said.

The resolution says that the Senate believes the crown prince, known informally as "MbS", "was in control of the security forces at the time of Jamal Khashoggi's murder" and "based on evidence and analysis made available to this institution, has a high level of confidence" in his complicity in the October 2 murder.

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Graham said he would not vote for the Yemen resolution. They did so against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who said USA involvement in the Yemen conflict is central to the Trump administration's broader goal of containing Iranian influence in the Middle East.

Ms Haspel's absence from that briefing angered senators.

When asked whether there was a difference in the message about Mohammed's culpability, Corker compared it to the "difference between darkness and sunshine".

"She didn't tell them anything that (Mattis and Pompeo didn't say)", the Texas Republican said, "so any senator who wants the information has had access to it".

The war is widely seen as a stalemate and Yemen, an impoverished country even in times of peace, is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said.

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