'Smoking saw' points to Saudi crown prince's role in Jamal Khashoggi's murder

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

His comments came after CIA Director Gina Haspel gave a classified briefing to senators about the murder.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "is a wrecking ball".

So far, President Trump has given the Saudi crown prince the benefit of the doubt about his role in the incident.

"I'm not going to destroy the world economy and I'm not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia", Trump said at the time.

After Haspel's briefing, the groundswell of certainty and disgust will likely complicate the administration's efforts to protect the prince and its relationship with Saudi Arabia, even as lawmakers remain divided about how to respond. "I can foresee a circumstance where a bunch of amendments might be voted down and at some point, [Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's] got to move to a vote on the underlying resolution", Murphy said.

These senators are serving notice that they won't back down without a fight - a fight that could tar both Pompeo's and Mattis' legacies.

As Rubio spoke to CNN's John Berman, he was asked about why the White House denies the existence of any smoking gun against Salman despite the CIA's "high confidence" assessment to the contrary.

Trump ally and fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said the "crazy" crown prince was "complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible". "There's not a smoking gun but a smoking saw". The Trump administration has issued sanctions against the individuals who carried out the crime, but Trump himself issued a strong, yet befuddling, statement of support for the kingdom, citing economic benefits for the U.S. In that statement, Trump vacillated on bin Salman's involvement: "maybe he did, maybe he didn't" know about the murder scheme. "Today, there's a Central Intelligence Agency briefing going on right now for which most rank and file senators and congressmen have been excluded", he said.

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel. "If MBS were in front of a jury, he'd be convicted in less than 30 minutes".

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Lindsey Graham of SC, the administration sent in CIA Director Gina Haspel to brief a select group of senators from key committees on the agency's findings about the Khashoggi killing.

United States intelligence community assessments and experts said it's unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.

Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post and a United States resident since 2017, was killed during his visit to the consulate to obtain marriage-related paperwork on October 2.

"Well I think they're frankly carrying out the policy of the administration", he said.

But "the brutality of this murder is beyond my sharing it with you", Graham said.

Senators, however, were divided as to what steps to take next, following a stinging vote last week to consider a measure cutting off U.S. military aid to Saudi Arabia's campaign.

In a statement attempting to clarify his comments later in the day, Stewart said: "We can not brush aside the murder of any journalist, and I have always said that those who are responsible for the murder of Mr. Khashoggi should be held responsible".

"Now, the question is, how do you separate the Saudi crown prince and his group from the nation itself", he said.

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