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06 December 2018, 10:59 | Devin Moran
Jamal Khashoggi the Saudi journalist
It's among several measures being considered after a closed Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Capitol Hill. According to Republican senators Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul, of all people, the evidence tying the Saudi Crown Prince to the journalist's killing is undeniable.
Both Qahtani, one of the advisors to the Saudi Crown Prince, and Asiri, Deputy Director of the Saudi secret services, were dismissed from their positions in October over the scandal caused by Khashoggi's murder.
Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed shortly after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct 2 to obtain paperwork for his upcoming marriage.
Trump has brushed aside the murder, affirming that the kingdom is a "great ally" to the U.S. He also argued that supporting the kingdom would be putting "America first".
Last week, 14 Republicans, who hold a slim majority in the Senate and rarely break from the president, defied Trump's wishes and voted with Democrats in favour of moving ahead with the war powers resolution.
"What we know about this murder leaves you with no doubt that the crown prince, at a minimum, knew about it, condoned it and perhaps, at worst, was actually involved in directing it", Rubio told CNN. He emerged saying that, "if the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes".
Another senator, Bob Corker, told reporters, using the crown prince's initials: "I have zero question on my mind that the crown prince MBS ordered the killing". "The motion to proceed's going to pass, and we're going to be in a fearless new world", the Connecticut Democrat told Roll Call on Tuesday.
The Saudi embassy in Washington confirmed that Khalid had returned to the US, NBC said, while a Saudi official said he was unable to attend the funeral because of a plane delay.
Last week, the administration sent Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis to brief the Senate, but Graham and other senators expressed outrage that they were not hearing directly from Haspel, as the CIA's assessment had been liberally leaked to the media.
"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", said Graham, referring to reports that the Saudi team had included a forensic expert who arrived with equipment to dismember Khashoggi's body.
The administration has sanctioned 17 Saudis expected to involved, but lawmakers are demanding much more serious consequences.
"It is a zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince", Graham told The Washington Post.
Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, a former chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also voted no on advancing the resolution. "You have to be willfully blind" not to see it. "But since I have such respect for them, I'm going to assume they are being good soldiers ..."
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