Saudi ambassador, brother of crown prince, returns to Washington

Sergio Conner
December 6, 2018

Members of the Senate's Committee on Foreign Relations did not mince words after the briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday.

The decision of the court came after Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office demanded arrests of Saud al Qahtani, a top aide to the Saudi crown prince, and Ahmed al Asiri, former deputy intelligence chief, for their alleged involvement in the killing.

"There's a consensus among a lot of us that we want to suspend arms sales and stop support for the war - how do you best do that?" said Sen.

That was referring to the culpability of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder, which took place inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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

Senators in the coming week are likely to consider a resolution that would restrict USA support for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen, which has contributed to a humanitarian disaster.

Two weeks ago Trump said, "I don't know. Period. We believe in "freedom of the press" here, and we should be promoting that ideal around the world, not excusing it because it's politically convenient in excusing the blunders of our president".

Although her office does not have the legal authority to initiate a criminal investigation, she said it would be a welcome step to determine "what really happened and who are the ones responsible for that bad killing". "By extraditing all suspects to Turkey, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, the Saudi authorities could address those concerns", the Turkish official said.

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The handful of prominent Republicans who openly broke with the administration over Khashoggi's killing on Tuesday after receiving a briefing by Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel, included South Carolina Sen. He said you'd have to be "willfully blind" to ignore the evidence and that there is "zero chance" that MBS is innocent in the matter.

Last week, the administration sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis to brief the Senate, but Graham and other senators expressed outrage that they were not hearing directly from Haspel, as the CIA's assessment had been liberally leaked to the media.

Some 14 million people face starvation, and recent studies estimate 85,000 children under five have starved to death.

The U.S. has slapped sanctions on Saudis involved in the murder.

The crown prince ordered and monitored the killing, Senator Bob Corker said.

Graham has said the resolution would be followed by an effort to impose sanctions. Members of that chamber are scheduled to receive a briefing from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on December 13, according to a House aide.

"I think there is an American desire to keep this at a certain level, to contain it within a balanced level, to allow the U.S. to project its power and to create greater advantage vis-a-vis the relationship with the Saudi government".

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