Lawmakers briefed Tuesday by CIA Director Gina Haspel accused Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of being responsible for the killing of Washington Post journalist and Indiana State University grad Jamal Khashoggi.
So far, President Trump has given the Saudi crown prince the benefit of the doubt about his role in the incident.
"If they were in a Democratic administration", Graham said of Pompeo and Mattis, "I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia".
The Saudi government went into damage control mode, with a spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy, Fatimah Baeshen, saying the kingdom maintains its "steadfast" commitment to the US-Saudi relationship and does "categorically reject" accusations linking the prince to the killing.
Fourteen Republicans voted to move it forward, heaping pressure on Trump to act.
"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". In another explanation, a White House official said Haspel decided not to participate in part because of frustration with lawmakers leaking classified intelligence from such settings.
"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", the senator said, referring to the crown prince.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of Trump, supports a Senate rebuke of the Saudi government, despite the Trump administration's reluctance to do it.
In the Khasoggi case, Trump has repeatedly avoided rebuking Saudi Arabia, pointing to the economic benefits of USA arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Riyadh's role in preventing a spike in oil prices.More news: Mexico to up security at border after migrants try to cross
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Graham said he would not vote for the Yemen resolution. Rand Paul issued a rhetorical broadside against the "deep state" this week for freezing him out of a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. He made a statement that MBS would be "convicted in 30 minutes", if he went in front of jury and, again, pointed out that the difference between the Central Intelligence Agency briefing and the Pompeo/Mattis briefing was like the "difference between darkness and sunshine", per WaPo.
Khashoggi, a U.S. resident since 2017, was killed during his visit to the consulate to obtain marriage-related paperwork on October 2.
"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!".
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a U.S. resident since 2017, was killed during his visit to the consulate to obtain marriage-related paperwork on October 2.
Turkey will not hesitate to consult global quarters if a deadlock is reached on the Khashoggi probe, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.
"I can't even ask to be included in it because I didn't know it was going to happen, except for reading about it in the media".
Corker is confident that the crown prince is culpable in the murder.
The president has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the USA and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices. "That might be the real policy question".
"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said.
Senators, however, were divided as to what steps to take next, following a stinging vote last week to consider a measure cutting off USA military aid to Saudi Arabia's campaign.