A ‘Smoking Saw’ links Saudi Prince to Khashoggi’s murder, says US Senator

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U.S. senators have made their first move to hold the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi after they introduced a non-binding resolution that they hope will lead to sanctions on Riyadh.

Khashoggi, 59, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.

In a surprising turn of events, the GOP is actually turning on Trump over his (lack of a) position on Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

If approved, the resolution would put the Senate on record as saying that the crown prince is responsible for Khashoggi's killing.

Earlier, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants for former Saudi Deputy Foreign Intelligence Chief Gen. Ahmed Asiri and Royal Court Adviser Saud Al-Qahtani over their roles in the murder of Khashoggi.

A senior Turkish official familiar with the investigation speaking on condition of anonymity said the arrest warrants reflect Turkey's view that Saudi Arabia won't hold the suspects accountable.

Trump has called the murder "terrible" but noted that the crown prince had denied any knowledge of the killing ahead of time.

But senator after senator leaving the Central Intelligence Agency briefing said there's no doubt that bin Salman was involved, adding that the United States can not ignore the matter.

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Corker also took aim at the kingdom's ambassador to the United States Prince Khalid bin Salman, the crown prince's younger brother, referring to him as an individual of "zero credibility" and suggesting that he could be expelled.

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed senators on what USA intelligence agencies know about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Tuesday. 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.

Trump ally and fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the "crazy" crown prince was "complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible".

The Saudi embassy in Washington confirmed that Khalid had returned to the US, NBC said, while a Saudi official said he was unable to attend the funeral because of a plane delay.

A Saudi prosecutor charged 11 government officials in October for alleged involvement, some whom could face the death penalty if found guilty. "Now, the question is how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself? Guilty", Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who now chairs the Foreign Relations committee, said after the briefing.

The Senate is expected to vote on the war powers resolution next week, but lawmakers have not yet agreed on how, or whether, it should be amended. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was emphatic last week, telling reporters, "We have no smoking gun that the Crown Prince was involved".

US intelligence assessments and experts say it is unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.