GOP senators accuse Trump Administration of covering up killing

05 December, 2018, 03:27 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • U.S. senators more certain than ever Saudi crown prince was behind Khashoggi killing

Senator John Kennedy has likened Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to infamous suspected Mexican crime lord Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán ahead of a small briefing allegedly linking the royal to the murder of a prominent journalist.

Graham spoke after a Senate briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel and said one would have to "be willfully blind" not to come to the conclusion that Khashoggi's death was orchestrated and organized by people under the crown prince.

The South Carolina senator was directly repudiating comments by top Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who just last week said there was "no smoking gun" implicating the crown prince.

While Saudi Arabia and the crown prince "are two different entities", Graham said the relationship between Washington and Riyahd was imperiled due to MBS's control of the Saudi government.

The sharp response from prominent Senate Republicans will increase the pressure on President Trump, who has defended the crown prince and the US relationship with Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaks to reporters after attending a closed-door briefing on the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by CIA Director Gina Haspel. Bob Corker, chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, adding that if it were a murder case sent to a jury, "he would be convicted in 30 minutes".

But President Donald Trump and some of his fellow Republicans have argued that Washington should not take action that would risk its relationship with Riyadh, which is viewed as an important counterweight to Iran in the Middle East.

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.'

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

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept appraised of the situation all the way through it", Corker told reporters.

Bin Salman has denied any knowledge of the plot to torture, murder and dismember Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Turkey in October and the US has waffled on whether it believes his denials. Human rights groups say the war is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing.

The senators were reportedly not allowed to disclose details of what they were told, but their reaction reinforced reports that the Central Intelligence Agency had accumulated substantial evidence that the crown prince was behind the murder.

"I think Prince Mohammed gave the order, or at least he knew about it, to butcher Khashoggi". The Senate ultimately passed that measure by a very wide margin, and debate on the resolution itself is expected to begin soon.

Illinois Republican Senator Dick Durbin also predicted that after the briefing, "the sentiment to continue this effort is stronger now than ever". "And at the same time what is protecting US interests, what is going to counter Shia extremists; what will help bring stability; what will help bring an end to the war in Yemen".

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