After a briefing by CIA director Gina Haspel on Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi leading Republican senators have reacted with outrage calling out for strict action against Saudi Arabia and its Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who was reportedly involved in the brutal murder that took place at the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2.
“I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept appraised of the situation all the way through it,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker told reporters. “If MBS were in front of a jury he’d be convicted in less than 30 minutes.”
Corker said they were not ready to accept the Trump administration’s claim that there is no direct evidence of the crown prince’s involvement in Khashoggi’s murder.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who also attended the hour-long CIA briefing, called out Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as a wrecking ball who is complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi to the highest level possible.
“There’s not a smoking gun but a smoking saw,” Graham added.
Notably, the United States President Donald Trump had issued a statement last week saying that issues like US-Saudi relations and oil market stability were more important than the scandal. He dismissed the CIA assessment report saying that there was no direct reporting implicating the Saudi prince. He also asserted that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman didn’t order the killing of Khashoggi as he has repeatedly denied having any knowledge about the matter.
Trump went on to thank Saudi Arabia on Twitter for the current low oil prices and also compared the low prices to a big tax cut for the U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pentagon chief Jim Mattis also briefed on the issue saying that there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder.