The Khashoggi Killing: US senators blame Mohammed bin Salman for death

Khashoggi murder: CIA chief Haspel 'to brief Congress'

Graham, who attended the briefing, told reporters afterward that there was "zero chance" the crown prince wasn't involved in Khashoggi's death.

Ahmed said the reason this message that "Mohammad bin Salman has to go" wasn't conveyed by the Central Intelligence Agency discreetly to Saudi King Salman, as would have been done in days past, is that the crown prince "is the gatekeeper to his father, so no one can go see the king unless MBS approves it..."

And a Saudi embassy spokesperson tweeted Tuesday: "At no time did HRH (His Royal Highness) the Crown Prince correspond with any Saudi officials in any government entity on harming Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen". If he was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes.

Istanbul's chief prosecutor said there is a "strong suspicion" al-Qahtani and Ahmed al-Asiri planned the horrific murder at the Saudi consulate on October 2. Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor has said Asiri was the one who ordered the operation to repatriate - but not kill - Khashoggi.

Saudi Arabia has sought to distance Prince Mohammed from the murder and has received support from the administration of US President Donald Trump, which has downplayed possible links between the crown prince and what happened to Khashoggi.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the Appropriations Committee chairman, echoed that "all evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince".

"Somebody should be punished, but the question is: How do you separate the Saudi crown prince from the nation itself?"

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"They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran", Trump said in the statement.

Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to USA military aid in the Saudi-led war in Yemen which has found new support in the wave of attention to Khashoggi's death. How the legislative push gets resolved is uncertain, but the floor fight could begin as soon as Monday - and put the administration on the defensive. Chris Murphy, a Democrat Connecticut who co-sponsored a bipartisan resolution calling for an end to the United States role in Yemen. "I know there are going to be a lot of efforts to try to remove the underlying language and replace it with something weaker". He has consistently reminded the press that the crown prince told him he had nothing to do with Khashoggi's disappearance. Following the briefing, a handful of senators said they believe that MBS ordered the hit on Khashoggi. "CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay".

But the White House's decision to make Haspel available-though only to a small group of recalcitrant senators-has backfired again, since it whetted the appetite of more senators for a briefing of their own.

"Oh, there was much more information", Durbin said. Qahtani was a key counsellor to Prince Salman.

While acknowledging the country's long relationship with Saudi Arabia, senators have said the murder can't be excused.

Some senators emphasized the need to find a balanced response. The Saudi coalition faced criticism for indiscriminately bombing civilian targets and infrastructure, though the Trump administration argues the situation would be much worse without US assistance. "That's what the Senate needs help on, and I am open to all suggestions on how to do that".

Others tried to downplay Haspel's briefing.

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