"Crazy, Wrecking Ball": US Senators Blast Saudi Prince Over Khashoggi


A Turkish court has issued arrest warrants for two suspects close to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, raising pressure on the kingdom's de facto leader after two United States senators accused him of ordering the hit.

US intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot.

Trump has repeatedly said the evidence doesn't conclusively prove that bin Salman was involved in the assassination and suggested that he believes the prince's denials over the conclusions of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"I'm not going to destroy the world economy and I'm not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia", the president said.

He argued that Pompeo and Mattis needed to be asked specifically if they disagreed with the CIA's conclusion there was "no smoking gun" to link the crown prince to the murder, as Mattis has claimed.

Fourteen Republicans voted to move it forward, heaping pressure on Trump to act. "As to Pompeo and Mattis, I have great respect for them". He said it seemed as though the White House's response to the Khashoggi killing was that "you can kill a journalist".

Graham rejected their assessment outright, saying "you have to be willfully blind" not to conclude that the murder was orchestrated by people under Prince Mohammed's command.

The Istanbul prosecutor in charge of the Turkish investigation said in late October that Mr Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider turned critic, was strangled then his body was cut into pieces.

Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of IL said every senator "should hear what I heard this afternoon".

CIA Director to Brief Lawmakers on Saudi Journalist's Murder

U.S. senators say they are more certain than ever after a private Central Intelligence Agency briefing that the Saudi crown prince had a role in the murder of a journalist.

"Let me just put it this way: I think if he was in front of a jury, he would have a unanimous verdict in about 30 minutes".

Saudi officials Ahmed Asiri and Saud al Qahtani are wanted in relation to the October 2 killing of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

He added on The Story with Martha MacCallum that "there's a certain price to be paid" if Saudi Arabia wants to remain an ally with the U.S.

On November 20, he said: "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't".

The Haspel briefing included leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Armed Services Committee and Appropriations Committee. They are also supporting legislation to end US support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which the Trump administration opposes.

Trump has said it's unknowable whether the Crown Prince was actually behind it - despite the Central Intelligence Agency concluding this with "high confidence" - while Pompeo said last week that there was no "direct reporting" implicating him. "That might be the real policy question".

Following the sanctions, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that the case of Khashoggi's murder is still not closed.

Corker is confident that the crown prince is culpable in the murder.