Published: Wed, December 05, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

GOP senators accuse Trump Administration of covering up killing

GOP senators accuse Trump Administration of covering up killing

After CIA director Gina Haspel briefed a handful of senators on Tuesday about US intelligence related to the murder of dissident Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, lawmakers said they were even more confident that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was directly involved in the brutal assassination.

The CIA director met with a small group of senators, including the chairmen and ranking senators on the key national security committees. gathers that leading senators from both parties attended the briefing from Haspel, who flew to Turkey to hear tapes of the killing which happened on October 2 from Turkish intelligence intercepts.

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.

"I can not support arms sales to Saudi Arabia as long as he's in charge of this country", Graham said of the crown prince.

Last week, the Senate rebuked Trump by voting 63 to 37 in favor of a resolution that would end USA involvement in Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen. In another explanation, a White House official said Haspel decided not to participate in part because of frustration with lawmakers leaking classified intelligence from such settings. The visit was confirmed by a person who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session.

Still, the agency later agreed to do an additional briefing with a select group of senators. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Graham said there was no doubt in his mind after Haspel's briefing. 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.

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.'

Candles, lit by activists, protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, are placed outside Saudi Arabia's consulate, in Istanbul.

Mr Khashoggi, a United States resident who wrote for the Washington Post, had been a fierce critic of the crown prince before his death.

US intelligence officials have concluded that the crown prince must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.

In his bid to pressure the Trump administration to condemn the Crown Prince, Senator Graham said there may not be a "smoking gun", but that there was a "smoking saw", a reference to a bone saw that investigators said was used to cut up Khashoggi's body.

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't", Trump said, but noted the strong USA interest in keeping Saudi Arabia as an ally and moving forward with a high-figure weapons deal that was helping American workers.

Asked if he would be convicted of murder, Senator Corker replied: "Yes".

That reluctance to blame the crown prince has enraged some Republicans.

Graham wrote in the Journal that "it is important for Congress to signal that there is no excuse for recent Saudi behavior". "And yet we have to have a relationship with these individuals or with these countries".

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