Menendez after CIA's Khashoggi briefing: Trump, Mattis, Pompeo making 'wrong calculation'

US senators convinced of Saudi crown prince’s role in Khashoggi murder

Republican Senator Bob Corker said he has zero doubt in his mind that Prince Mohammed ordered and monitored the killing of Khashoggi.

"I think the behaviour before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing and I can not see him being a reliable partner to the United States".

"I think he is insane, I think he is risky and he has put the relationship (between U.S. and Saudi Arabia) at risk there is not a smoking gun, there is a smoking saw".

"If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes, guilty", Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker told reporters after the briefing. Other Republicans who last week had opposed a resolution directing the president to halt USA support of the Saudi war in Yemen now suggested they might change their position after hearing what Haspel had to say in the classified briefing. Human rights groups say it is indiscriminately leading to civilian deaths.

After the briefing with Haspel, South Carolina Republican Sen. "I think the behavior before the Khashoggi murder was beyond disturbing, and I can not see him being a reliable partner to the United States".

Unconvinced by them and incensed by the administration's refusal to send the Central Intelligence Agency director to the hearing, Republicans and Democrats had joined hands to vote to bring to a legislative measure halting USA support to the Saudi-led ruling forces in Yemen fighting Iranian-backed Houthis.

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel. The visit was confirmed by a person familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private session.

Some senators had accused the White House of barring Haspel's participation in last week's briefing with Pompeo and Mattis.

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Some rank-and-file senators were furious that they were excluded from the briefing.

Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments - and a long and unusual statement last week - he reinforced the United States' long alliance with the Saudis.

The Saudi position has been that the 15 assassins who traveled to Istanbul on October 2 and murdered Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate were rogue operatives acting without the knowledge of the crown prince or the king.

"You can't chop up a guy in a consulate, particularly who's an American resident who's an opinion journalist for The Washington Post, and expect us to do nothing about it", said Graham. He was killed in what US officials have described as an elaborate plot as he visited the consulate for marriage paperwork.

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.

He added on The Story with Martha MacCallum that "there's a certain price to be paid" if Saudi Arabia wants to remain an ally with the U.S.

He argued that Pompeo and Mattis needed to be asked specifically if they disagreed with the CIA's conclusion there was "no smoking gun" to link the crown prince to the murder, as Mattis has claimed.

The two men echoed Trump's reluctance to blame the crown prince.

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