Original El Chapo: Top GOPers rip Saudi prince

Original El Chapo: Top GOPers rip Saudi prince

Top senators said Tuesday that they were convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the torture and killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - with one saying "there's a smoking saw" in the case against him.

"You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi", Graham added.

"There's not a smoking gun", said Graham, who then referred to reports that the Saudi team included a forensic expert who arrived with equipment to dismember Khashoggi's body. "There's a smoking saw".

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.'

Rep. Chris Stewart defended President Donald Trump's dismissal of Central Intelligence Agency findings that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was complicit in the killing of a US -based journalist, noting that America needs relationships with some countries it doesn't always agree with.

The CIA reportedly believes Prince Mohammed is responsible, as do many United States politicians, but not President Donald Trump.

Retiring Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., an outspoken critic of President Trump and his response to Khashoggi's killing, stressed, "If the Crown Prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes".

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The White House faced a rebuke last week when the Senate voted to advance legislation that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting a war in Yemen, which has been described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis. "I think he is complicit in the murder of Khashoggi in the highest possible level", said Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

Trump has equivocated over who is to blame for the killing, frustrating senators who are now looking for ways to punish the longtime Middle East ally.

A source told Reuters news agency on Tuesday that Trump administration officials, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, will brief all members of the US House of Representatives on the Saudi situation on 13 December. Human rights groups say the war is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing.

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"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.

Haspel's testimony has been regarded as key by senators sitting on the fence about condemning the Saudi leader, since it was she who traveled to Ankara to hear the recording by Turkish intelligence of Khashoggi's last moments. "It is my hope that the Senate will act and send a strong, unequivocal message that such actions can not stand and I believe that my legislation with Senator Graham is the appropriate response".

"You can't chop up a guy in a consulate, particularly who's an American resident who's an opinion journalist for The Washington Post, and expect us to do nothing about it", said Graham.

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The Senate could take a vote on proceeding to the Yemen resolution next week.

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