CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed a group of senators Tuesday on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. After the closed-door meeting, Republican senator and chair of the Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker told reporters he holds Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman directly responsible.
Sen. Bob Corker: “I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince, MBS, ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening, planned it in advance. If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes: guilty.”
Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham also condemned the crown prince and called out the Trump administration’s handling of the case.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: ”MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball. I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible. I think the behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing, and I cannot see him being a reliable partner to the United States. … Secretary Pompeo and Mattis are following the lead of the president. There’s not a smoking gun; there’s a smoking saw.”
The “smoking saw” that Senator Graham referred to is the bone saw that was reportedly used to dismember Khashoggi’s body by Saudi hit men in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2. CIA Director Haspel’s briefing on Tuesday came a week after the White House reportedly blocked her from providing background to senators. This comes as the Senate is gearing up for a debate over whether to halt U.S. support for the Saudi-led war on Yemen, after senators voted last week to advance a bipartisan resolution on the issue. The war has sparked what the U.N. calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in a half-century, with half of Yemen’s 28 million people on the brink of famine. To see our conversation with Senator Bernie Sanders about Yemen and his bill, go to DemocracyNow.org.