Graham Breaks With Trump: 'Zero Chance' MBS Wasn't Involved In Khashoggi Murder

Turkey seeks arrest of Saudi crown prince aides over Khashoggi

In some of their strongest accusations to date, lawmakers said evidence presented by the USA spy agency overwhelmingly pointed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's involvement in the assassination.

In his bid to pressure the Trump administration to condemn the Crown Prince, Senator Graham said there may not be a "smoking gun", but that there was a "smoking saw", a reference to a bone saw that investigators said was used to cut up Khashoggi's body.

"Guilty", Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), who now chairs the Foreign Relations committee, said after the briefing.

Joining Corker in his denunciations was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will call for a Congressional resolution citing the Crown Prince as complicit in Khashoggi's murder.

After reports that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's assassination in the Istanbul consulate on October 2, Trump warned that US-Saudi ties and oil market stability were too important to rock over the scandal.

Haspel is set to meet Republican and Democratic Senate leaders on Tuesday, as well as the chairmen and ranking senators on the key national security committees.

He added: "We're looking for an appropriate response that doesn't completely fracture the relationship".

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.

"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event - maybe he did and maybe he didn't!".

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They say Gina Haspel is to talk to Senate leaders leaders on Tuesday.

Graham also authored an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal earlier in the day, which argued that bin Salman is a "wrecking ball to US-Saudi relations" whose behavior helps only Iran. Some lawmakers like Graham want a bill with teeth that will punish Saudi Arabia, while others are keen not to antagonize the White House. The vote last week allowed the Senate to debate 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.

Istanbul's chief prosecutor has filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide to Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler and the deputy head of foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, two Turkish officials said on Wednesday.

Last week, Haspel did not attend a briefing about Khashoggi's killing that was given to all senators by Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Graham was just one of several senators, Republican and Democrat, who delivered blistering attacks on Saudi Arabia and the crown prince following the closed-door briefing.

Some senators have complained about the way the briefing was handled today, including Kentucky Sen.

USA intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said.

The Senate could take a vote on proceeding to the Yemen resolution next week.

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