WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (all times local):
Democratic leaders say CIA Director Gina Haspel should give the full Senate the same briefing they received on the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee).
Haspel gave a classified briefing to a small, bipartisan group of senators on Tuesday. The senators who attended said it left them even more convinced that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in Khashoggi’s death.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham says he will push the Senate to vote on a resolution that finds Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman complicit in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
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.
Graham says, “there’s not a smoking gun. There’s a smoking saw.”
The senator also says he cannot support arms sales to Saudi Arabia so long as the crown prince is in charge. President Donald Trump has said stopping the sales would only help nations such as China and Russia.
Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
Senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel say they are even more convinced that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said he believes if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in “about 30 minutes.”
Tuesday’s briefing comes as the Senate weighs punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing. President Donald Trump has equivocated over who is to blame. Frustrated with the administration’s response, senators voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said there is “zero chance” the crown prince wasn’t involved in Khashoggi’s death.
CIA Director Gina Haspel has briefed Senate leaders on the slaying of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as senators weigh punishing the longtime Middle East ally over the killing.
The CIA director met with a small group of senators, including the chairmen and ranking senators on the key national security committees.
Senators from both parties were angry last week that Haspel didn’t attend a closed-door session with top administration officials about Khashoggi’s killing and the U.S. response, which many senators have said is lacking.
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. Human rights groups say the war is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing.