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

U.S. senators more certain than ever Saudi crown prince was behind Khashoggi killing

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

"I think temperatures are up by all involved ... so figuring out something that can pass overwhelmingly still is going to be hard because some people want to tie the Yemen piece into the Khashoggi piece".

A small group of leading senators were set to be briefed Tuesday by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the classified findings of the agency's investigation into whether or not Prince Mohammed ordered self-exiled Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death last month at the hands of Riyadh's agents in the kingdom's consulate building in Istanbul.

"MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball". "He murdered him. No question in my mind".

"It is zero chance - zero - that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince", he said.

"If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man for a long time to come, I find it very diffiult to be able to do business because I think he's insane".

"Let me just put it this way. I have no question whatsoever now: The crown prince directed the murder and was kept apprised of the situation all the way through".

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, two of President Donald Trump's closest allies on foreign policy, said in pointed, angry terms Tuesday that Saudi Arabia's crown prince was behind the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi - a sharp break with the Trump administration's view.

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.'

Corker was about as full-throated, saying, "If the Crown Prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes" - another clear rebuke to Trump's statement and Pompeo's and Mattis' suggestions that this is some kind of unknown. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, shook his head no.

The Republican lawmaker then insisted that the Saudis will be held "accountable, including the crown prince, for whatever action he may have been involved with" - just before implying that the US must remain closely allied withSaudis because of the their role in the Yemen civil war. The CIA has concluded that the crown prince personally ordered Khashoggi's killing, according to a senior United States official and a source familiar with the matter.

Saudi Arabia maintains the crown prince did not know anything about the murder, which it claims was an accident.

In an interview with CNN last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they had no direct evidence to prove Prince Mohammed was behind the murder.

"There's not a smoking gun; there's a smoking saw", said Graham, referring to reports that Khashoggi's body was dismembered by a bone saw after he was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

USA lawmakers have repeatedly called for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Trump administration to release all the information they have related to the Khashoggi case.

Illinois Republican Senator Dick Durbin also predicted that after the briefing, "the sentiment to continue this effort is stronger now than ever".

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