Senators call for action over Khashoggi killing after Central Intelligence Agency briefing

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Last week, a combination of Republican and Democratic senators voted, 63-37, to advance a resolution to end US support for Saudi forces in Yemen.

The Saudis have charged 11 people but deny the crown prince was involved.

Graham's rage about the crown prince's involvement was shared by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tennessee. If he was in front of a jury he would have a unanimous verdict in 30 minutes. "Guilty. So the question is, 'What do we do about that?'"

The senator said there was indeed a "smoking saw" - a reference to the reported bonesaw that was brought to dismember Khashoggi - and that Pompeo was being a "good soldier" by toeing the Administration's line.

"The prosecution's move to issue arrest warrants for Asiri and al-Qahtani reflects the view that Saudi authorities won't take formal action against those individuals", one of the Turkish officials said.

Energy Secretary Rick Perry told the National Petroleum Council on Tuesday that he plans to visit Saudi Arabia and Qatar, though he didn't give a timetable for the trip. He was not at the Central Intelligence Agency briefing because it was limited to certain foreign policy committees.

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.

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He went on to suggest that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis were being "technical" "good soldiers" for the goals of the Trump administration. Following the November 28 briefing, Pompeo and Mattis told reporters there was no direct evidence tying MBS to Khashoggi's murder. Graham said that was not played in Tuesday's briefing.

"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Senator Graham added, citing the bone saw that was reportedly used on Khashoggi's body after his murder. "But according to Graham, "(There is) zero chance-zero-that this happened without the crown prince".

The clear and biting assessment put Republican senators at odds with the White House, which has steadfastly refused to cast blame on Saudi Arabia's leadership for the death of Khashoggi, a United States resident and Washington Post columnist. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), to end USA support for the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen, where thousands of civilians have been killed and, according to the United Nations, millions are at risk of starvation. The Senate overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing USA backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

"We heard the clearest testimony I've ever heard from intelligence this morning", Corker also said.

But many details had already leaked. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, who said he is highly confident that the prince is responsible for the murder.

"MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball [and] I think he is complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible".

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