Graham Breaks With Trump: 'Zero Chance' MBS Wasn't Involved In Khashoggi Murder

Frederick Owens
December 6, 2018

The resolution, tweeted out by Graham tonight, states that the Senate has a "high level of confidence" that MBS is complicit in Khashoggi's killing, a sentiment Graham and other senators expressed after yesterday's Central Intelligence Agency briefing.

Breaking with President Donald Trump, U.S. senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on December 4 said they are even more convinced that Prince Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi's death.

Graham, who is influential on foreign policy issues and has lately been an ally of President Donald Trump, told reporters earlier Wednesday he wants to "suspend arms sales and support for the war in Yemen until several things happen".

"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 in Istanbul with equipment to dismember Khashoggi's body.

He was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, where he had gone to collect some papers in connection with his upcoming marriage to a Turkish woman.

"In March 2015, Saudi Arabia instituted a naval and aerial blockade on Yemen, and now maintains strict limits on air and sea transit to the country which contribute to delays of critical humanitarian aid and commercial supplies to a nation that imports as much as 90 percent of its food and relies on imported fuel", the resolution reads.

The non-binding resolution is also seeking to hold the crown prince accountable for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents in Riyadh and the use of force to intimidate rivals.

Senator Bob Corker said: "I have zero question on my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing".

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The Tennessee Republican added: "If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes".

The crown prince ordered and monitored the killing, Senator Bob Corker said. Chris Murphy, a Democrat Connecticut who co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the United States role in Yemen.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Post reported that Khalid told Khashoggi "that he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so".

Three GOP lawmakers have voiced their own conclusions since a separate classified briefing on Tuesday.

The administration has sanctioned 17 Saudis expected to involved, but lawmakers are demanding much more serious consequences.

Menendez, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the meeting that the senators were working on a compromise.

Senators had wanted a briefing from Haspel about the CIA's assessment that bin-Salman was behind the killing but the Trump administration had sent instead secretaries of state and defence Mike Pompeo and James Mattis to bring them.

Saudi Arabia had detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five. "I'm not going to blow past this", he said. Graham is quick to defend Pompeo and Mattis, calling them "good soldiers" in his statement, but he throws Trump under the bus.

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