Senators wrestle with rebuke of Saudis for Khashoggi killing

Sean Penn spotted filming documentary on murder of Khashoggi

Khashoggi was killed in October, at Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

There is "no doubt" that Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman not only knew about the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, but also condoned it or "worse, was actually involved in directing it", Sen.

Riyadh could "address those concerns" by extraditing the suspects to Turkey, the official said.

"The global community seems to doubt Saudi Arabia's commitment to prosecute this heinous crime", the official said, adding that by extraditing all suspects to Turkey, "Saudi authorities could address those concerns".

Saudi Arabia had detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five.

Prince Mohammed "is a wrecking ball", Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from SC, told reporters after an hour-long briefing by the CIA Director, Gina Haspel on Tuesday. Regardless, his party members are sick of it, and a showdown between Trump and these senators seems inevitable.

"It's not in our interests to give the crown prince. a pass for murder of an American resident with three American children", Graham said.

But the debate could become a virtual trial over Prince Mohammed's responsibility for Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and Trump's effort to downplay it. Senators could add amendments to further punish the kingdom.

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Pompeo and Mattis are now expected to give a briefing to the House on Yemen and Saudi Arabia on December 13, ahead of a Democratic takeover of the House in January following the party's gains in the midterm elections.

Following a Central Intelligence Agency briefing on Monday, top US senators said they are even more convinced that the prince was involved in the killing.

Top senators have also said they're convinced the prince ordered the hit, with Republican Sen.

The diplomat returned to Riyadh in early October shortly after the killing of the dissident Saudi journalist at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul.

"If he (bin Salman) was in front of a jury he would be convicted in 30 minutes", said Bob Corker, another Republican senator but a Trump critic. "I know there are going to be a lot of efforts to try to remove the underlying language and replace it with something weaker".

Senators including Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., still want Haspel to brief the entire Senate on the matter.

Assiri, the former deputy head of general intelligence, often sat in during Prince Mohammed's closed-door meetings with visiting foreign dignitaries, while Qahtani was a key counsellor to the crown prince. He was not in Haspel's briefing, which was attended by a select number of committee chairs and top-ranking Democrats. Pressed on a response to Saudi Arabia, the president has said the United States "intends to remain a steadfast partner" of the country, touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the US and thanked the country for plunging oil prices.

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