Senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on Tuesday said they are even more convinced that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, said he believes if the crown prince were put on trial, a jury would find him guilty in “about 30 minutes.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, who demanded the briefing with Haspel, said there is “zero chance” the crown prince wasn’t involved in Khashoggi’s death.
“There’s not a smoking gun. There’s a smoking saw,” Graham, who is a close ally of President Donald Trump, said, referring to reports from the Turkish government that said Saudi agents used a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Graham said “you have to be willfully blind” not to conclude that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the crown prince’s command.
The senators’ remarks appeared to contradict senior Trump administration officials — as well as Trump himself — who have claimed that no “direct evidence” links the Saudi leader to the killing.
“The crown prince is a wrecking ball. I think he’s complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible. I think his behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing. And I cannot see him being a reliable partner to the United States,” Graham stated, referring to the Saudi prince who is known as MBS.
“If the Saudi government is going to be in the hands of this man for a long time to come, I find it very difficult to be able to do business because I think he’s crazy, I think he is dangerous, and he has put the relationship at risk,” Graham added.
Senators overwhelmingly voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing U.S. backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
It’s unclear whether or how that resolution will move forward. The vote last week set up debate on the measure, which could happen as soon as next week, but senators are still in negotiations on whether to amend it and what it should say.