Turkey issues arrest warrants for 2 Saudi aides over journalist's killing

Aaron Brown
December 6, 2018

"There's not a smoking gun - there's a smoking saw", Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator and an ally of US president Donald Trump, said to reporters after an intelligence hearing by Gina Haspel in US Congress.

A bipartisan group of senior senators on Tuesday said that a classified briefing by the Central Intelligence Agency director had only solidified their belief that Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, ordered the killing of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

So far, President Trump has given the Saudi crown prince the benefit of the doubt about his role in the incident.

Graham said that President Trump has worked to create a strong relationship with Saudi Arabia, and he "clearly" isn't being respected.

The House hasn't indicated it plans to move forward with a similar debate.

Pompeo said after the briefing that there was "no direct reporting" that connected the prince to the killing.

In a surprising turn of events, the GOP is actually turning on Trump over his (lack of a) position on Jamal Khashoggi's killing. Mattis said there was no "smoking gun" implicating the Saudi crown prince.

On November 20, Trump issued an official statement on U.S./Saudi Arabia relations, emphasizing that he still considered the Saudi royal family valuable allies and had no interest in imposing any sanctions on the Saudi government.

The administration last week sent Mattis and Pompeo to the Capitol, but senators emerged angrier than before, in part because Haspel didn't participate.

Outspoken Senator Rand Paul warned America of the "growing Deep State" Tuesday; saying he was "blocked" from a Central Intelligence Agency briefing regarding the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, 2018.

USA intelligence community assessments and experts said it's unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.

Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote for the Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October in what USA officials have described as an elaborate plot.

There are several proposals in the works, including freezes on all US arms sales to Riyadh and tightening sanctions on those involved in Khashoggi's murder.

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel.

Pompeo urged senators last week to maintain America's increasingly contentious support for the Saudi coalition, arguing that pulling back would worsen the brutal Yemen conflict.

The war is widely seen as a stalemate and Yemen, an impoverished country even in times of peace, is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis. "That might be the real policy question". "A guilty verdict", Corker said.

"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Congress is looking for an "appropriate" response to Khashoggi's murder, but said the US needs to maintain its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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