Published: Thu, December 06, 2018

'Not a Smoking Gun...A Smoking Saw': Senators Convinced on Khashoggi Killing

'Not a Smoking Gun...A Smoking Saw': Senators Convinced on Khashoggi Killing

Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, railed at the "deep state" for limiting the information flow to senators, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer demanded the full Senate be briefed as soon as possible.

Noting that, based on the structure of the Saudi state, "you could not put this thing together without [Mohammed bin Salman's] knowledge", Ahmed said that "probably more people are involved" and that future investigations would reveal an expanding web of connections through the Saudi government between people who helped make Khashoggi's murder happen.

"I hope to have a definitive statement by the United States Senate that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has been generally a wrecking ball in terms of behavior and that he was complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi because I think that's the truth", Graham told reporters Wednesday evening.

The strong comments are the latest development in a controversy that has been building over the last two months as the Saudis have offered changing explanations about the disappearance and murder of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. The CIA believes a Saudi hit squad killed him there on the crown prince's instructions - one of them reportedly using a bone saw. Obviously that's a huge sign of progress, but an even more important takeaway is the fact that these senators say they feel purposefully mislead by a Republican administration, and have made a vote against its interests. He was not in Haspel's briefing, which was attended by a select number of committee chairs and top-ranking Democrats.

Pompeo and Mattis are now expected to give a briefing to the House on Yemen and Saudi Arabia on December 13, ahead of a Democratic takeover of the House in January following the party's gains in the midterm elections.

Haspel herself did not respond to CNN's questions as she left the briefing about whether it would satisfy senators' concerns.

The fierce spat between the White House and Congress has fueled new levels of support for a resolution that would demand an end to US involvement in the war in Yemen-a push that could trigger an unprecedented showdown over the USA government's authority to wage war. Instead, he said, he would rally support for a different, broader effort against the kingdom - to cut off arms sales and military aid for the war in Yemen, and impose new sanctions on those responsible for the killing, including the crown prince.

Haspel's briefing was limited to the chairs and ranking members of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence committees, as well as the Appropriation subcommittee, and majority and minority leaders.

Fellow GOP Senator Bob Corker from Tennessee shared Graham's view.

Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels, has spiraled into the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

He said that Saudi Arabia disrespected its relationship with the United States and needs to fix it. The assistance began under the Obama administration.

Senators, however, were divided as to what steps to take next, following a stinging vote last week to consider a measure cutting off U.S. military aid to Saudi Arabia's campaign. If it advances beyond that, senators have an opportunity to debate and add amendments to the resolution before a final vote.

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