Saudi crown prince 'ordered, monitored' killing of Khashoggi, Corker says

Republican senators reacted with outrage Tuesday after leaving a classified briefing about ...

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 12:42 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 12:42 PM

Republican senators reacted with outrage Tuesday after leaving a classified briefing about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, promising swift action to confront both Saudi Arabia and the White House's timid response to the killing.

GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are leading the charge to offer new legislation that would rebuke Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as potentially limit US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, saying their push was bolstered by the classified briefing, which detailed intelligence linking the Saudi leader to the murder of the US-based journalist.

Central Intelligence Agency

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Crimes against persons

Criminal offenses

Gina Haspel

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Government organizations - US

Homicide

Intelligence services

International relations and national security

Jamal Khashoggi

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Misc people

Murder

National security

Political Figures - US

Politics

Saudi Arabia

US Congress

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US government independent agencies

US intelligence agencies

US Senate

Bob Corker

Dick Durbin

Legislation

Lindsey Graham

North America

The Americas

United States

White House

Donald Trump

Yemen

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

Referring to the prince, who is known by his initials, Graham said, "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 intrinsically involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi."

'Ordered, monitored'

Corker added that the prince "ordered, monitored, the killing" of the father of four.

"If he were in front of a jury, he would be convicted of murder in about 30 minutes," Corker said.

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.

Trump has made a concerted decision to avoid rebuking Saudi Arabia, claiming the kingdom's role in affecting global oil prices and its arms deals with the United States are more important to the national interest.

Trump, as well as Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have downplayed the crown prince's ties to the murder, with Pompeo saying there was no "direct evidence" linking him to Khashoggi's death.

No doubt, senators say

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't," Trump said last month about whether the crown prince had known about the murder.

But senator after senator leaving the CIA briefing said there's no doubt that bin Salman was involved, adding that the United States cannot ignore the matter.

"Somebody should be punished," said Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican from Alabama. "Now, the question is how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself? That might be the real policy question."

Indeed, after Haspel's briefing, the groundswell of certainty and disgust will likely complicate the administration's efforts to protect the prince and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, even as lawmakers have yet to coalesce around a legislative response.

'It's time'

Among the options: pull back from US involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen; deny any arms sales with Saudi Arabia; slap the crown prince with sanctions, along with a resolution saying the Senate finds him complicit in murder. How the legislative push gets resolved is uncertain, but the floor fight could begin as soon as Monday -- and put the administration on the defensive.

"It's time for the United States to be out of that war," said Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat Connecticut who co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the US role in Yemen. "I know there are going to be a lot of efforts to try to remove the underlying language and replace it with something weaker. I don't think that ultimately saves lives in the way that the underlying bill does."

Corker said he's not certain he would support pulling back from Yemen but that "I deserve the right" to back a withdrawal of US involvement in the war effort.

"I don't want to do anything to harm our national interest, and I don't think that we've fully spoken to what the crown prince has done," Corker told CNN. "There are a lot of issues with Yemen that need to be addressed."

'Deep state' concerns

The CIA, meanwhile, is facing growing pressure to brief the full Senate, since Tuesday's briefing comprised only roughly a dozen senators from the party leadership and who sit on key committees.

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.

"While I will not discuss the content of the Haspel briefing, it reinforced the need for a strong response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," the New York Democrat said. "CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay."

Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement that "every Senator should hear what I heard this afternoon. CIA Director Haspel must brief the full Senate immediately."

And Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican who was not part of the briefing, said that "by the director choosing to meet with some, but not others, congratulations to her, she has pissed off everybody."

High confidence

The office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, has not responded to a request for comment on whether Haspel should brief the full chamber.

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

The CIA had already concluded with high confidence that the prince was behind the murder, but senators said Haspel provided a much more fulsome briefing than the one they had gotten from Cabinet officials, including new evidence.

"Oh, there was much more information," Durbin said. "I went in believing the crown prince was directly responsible or at least complicit in this and my feeling was strengthened by the information."

'Yes'

Asked if the prince is responsible for Khashoggi's death, Durbin answered with one word: "Yes."

Graham said the United States should come down like a "ton of bricks" on the Saudis, adding that he can no longer do business with Saudi Arabia and "cannot support arm sales to Saudi Arabia" if the "crazy" crown prince is still running the country.

Some senators emphasized the need to find a balanced response. "We have to figure out a way to condemn the butchery and the murder in the strongest possible terms without blowing up the Middle East," Kennedy said. "That's what the Senate needs help on, and I am open to all suggestions on how to do that."

Others tried to downplay Haspel's briefing. Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN that Haspel should not come back and brief the whole Senate as senators on both sides have demanded.

"She didn't tell them anything that (Mattis and Pompeo didn't say)," the Texas Republican said, "so any senator who wants the information has had access to it."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 681613

Reported Deaths: 8076
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1403921855
Ramsey58542944
Dakota52093497
Anoka48037479
Washington30637309
Stearns24839240
St. Louis20269335
Scott19626145
Wright18499163
Olmsted15792110
Sherburne13522100
Carver1206952
Clay915295
Rice9104120
Blue Earth866347
Crow Wing7797102
Kandiyohi744188
Chisago711658
Otter Tail666691
Benton6439101
Mower558038
Winona554452
Goodhue550080
Douglas535484
Itasca516671
Beltrami504672
McLeod501463
Steele500921
Isanti490170
Morrison467563
Nobles448650
Becker434559
Polk433675
Freeborn429538
Lyon394254
Carlton389559
Nicollet377647
Pine373726
Mille Lacs354360
Brown346443
Cass343035
Le Sueur340829
Todd321734
Meeker304749
Waseca288625
Martin261933
Wabasha24334
Dodge24064
Hubbard232241
Roseau231723
Houston203816
Renville199548
Redwood198242
Fillmore194710
Pennington190221
Wadena185126
Faribault179725
Cottonwood176624
Sibley175810
Chippewa171239
Kanabec164129
Aitkin155038
Watonwan155011
Rock138519
Jackson134712
Pope13058
Yellow Medicine125120
Pipestone125026
Swift117119
Koochiching116519
Murray115110
Stevens112211
Marshall103518
Clearwater101918
Lake91021
Wilkin89614
Lac qui Parle84824
Big Stone6814
Mahnomen6819
Grant6718
Lincoln6524
Norman6509
Kittson53322
Unassigned51593
Red Lake4777
Traverse4215
Lake of the Woods3884
Cook2120

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 432122

Reported Deaths: 6339
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk67341672
Linn25698353
Scott22828261
Black Hawk19121334
Woodbury16940233
Johnson1659690
Dubuque14547218
Pottawattamie13058183
Dallas12746102
Story1187148
Warren685993
Webster6304102
Cerro Gordo6212102
Clinton620097
Des Moines594482
Muscatine5781108
Unassigned57410
Marshall564280
Sioux542775
Jasper516575
Lee511078
Wapello4993128
Buena Vista472942
Marion449083
Plymouth434083
Henry339940
Jones331158
Bremer325365
Crawford321644
Carroll317053
Washington315754
Benton312656
Boone308736
Mahaska275453
Dickinson270846
Kossuth251471
Jackson246044
Clay245729
Tama238273
Delaware234643
Buchanan233938
Hardin230847
Page221624
Cedar220525
Fayette220345
Wright217641
Winneshiek215937
Hamilton211752
Harrison198875
Clayton194458
Madison193820
Butler188836
Floyd187742
Mills185224
Poweshiek181036
Cherokee179440
Iowa176425
Allamakee176252
Lyon174441
Jefferson169138
Calhoun168313
Hancock167335
Winnebago164231
Grundy158835
Cass155556
Louisa154949
Shelby151739
Appanoose151249
Emmet149541
Franklin148524
Humboldt147226
Sac144722
Union144237
Mitchell141643
Guthrie138132
Chickasaw137518
Palo Alto131124
Clarke125024
Montgomery122239
Keokuk116232
Howard115622
Monroe114033
Ida107538
Davis103125
Pocahontas99023
Greene98012
Adair95334
Monona94733
Lucas94523
Worth9268
Osceola83717
Decatur74510
Fremont74111
Taylor72412
Van Buren70919
Wayne65123
Ringgold62226
Audubon58414
Adams3914
Rochester
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Mason City
Cloudy
58° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 58°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 57°
Austin
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Charles City
Cloudy
59° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 59°
Sunny and cooler on Tuesday
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events