Eric Villarreal | United States
On Tuesday, in a closed-door meeting between the Central Intelligence Agency and top United States Senators, CIA Director Gina Haspel revealed new information that confirms the view of many US politicians who have long held that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Sen. Lindsey Graham says Saudi Arabia's crown prince is a "wrecking ball" and is "complicit in the murder" of Khashoggi to the "highest level possible."
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) December 4, 2018
Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been a close ally of President Trump, stated: “I went into the briefing believing it was virtually impossible for an operation like this to be carried out without the crown prince’s knowledge, I left the briefing with high confidence that my initial assessment of the situation was correct.” Graham further went on to say “Saudi Arabia is a strategic ally and the relationship is worth saving, but not at all costs”.
Graham then went on to say that the US would do more damage to its standing in the world and national security by ignoring the crown prince than by dealing with him. Graham added that he believes that the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia is at risk if Mohammed bin Salman remains as the heir apparent, implying that if there is not a shake-up in the Saudi government the alliance between the House of Saud and the United States could be coming to an end. Graham would not specify what evidence was presented but he did state that “You can be assured it was thorough and the evidence is overwhelming.”
Senator Bob Corker who has been an outspoken Republican critic of the President echoed the statements from Graham stating there is no doubt that the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered, monitored, and planned the killing later adding “If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes. “
All of these statements stand in stark contrast to the briefing last week from Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which they stated that none of the intelligence suggested a direct connection between the Saudi Crown Prince and the order to kill Jamal Khashoggi. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have long criticized President Trump for his ambivalence towards information from the CIA. Trump has stated that he believes the strategic relationship and weapons sales between the two countries are too valuable to put into jeopardy.
Senators Lindsey Graham(R-SC) and Bob Menendez(D-NJ) are the co-authors of a bill which would halt all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia as well as impose economic sanctions. It remains a possibility that this bill could be attached to the so-called the Yemen Resolution put forward by Bernie Sanders(I-VT) and Mike Lee(R-UT) which would end US support for the Saudi led fight against Houthi Rebels in Yemen. Members of Congress seem to have high hopes but with such a short time left in this session, it’s uncertain if they will be able to gain the support necessary to pass the resolution.
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