Rep. Stewart Downplays Saudi Journalist's Murder: 'Journalists Disappear All Over'

Rep. Stewart Downplays Saudi Journalist's Murder: 'Journalists Disappear All Over'

Kerry Wise
December 6, 2018

"CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay".

The more the Trump administration tries to put the issue of Jamal Khashoggi behind it, the more its efforts appear to backfire, keeping the journalist's murder front and center and hardening a bipartisan U.S. Senate demand for action against Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Corker suggested that President Donald Trump had condoned the murder of a journalist by refusing to condemn the Saudi crown prince.

Last week, senators received a briefing from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Saudi authorities have vehemently denied the crown prince was involved. "You have to balance all of those considerations as we move forward on this". Following the November 28 briefing, Pompeo and Mattis told reporters there was no direct evidence tying MBS to Khashoggi's murder.

Anyone who looked at the evidence would have to be "willfully blind" not to reach the conclusion that the killing was "orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS", as Salman is known, Graham said.

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't", Trump said, but noted the strong USA interest in keeping Saudi Arabia as an ally and moving forward with a high-figure weapons deal that was helping American workers.

On November 20, Trump issued an official statement on U.S./Saudi Arabia relations, emphasizing that he still considered the Saudi royal family valuable allies and had no interest in imposing any sanctions on the Saudi government.

The visit would focus on "partnerships and investment projects", the Algerian presidency said before the prince arrived in Algiers late Sunday on a flight from Mauritania.

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Despite denials by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia's reputation has been tarnished, with U.S. senators pointing the finger at the crown prince after a Central Intelligence Agency briefing Tuesday.

CIA Director Gina Haspel held a closed-door briefing today in Washington, DC, addressing several senators on the killing of Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The war is widely seen as a stalemate and Yemen, an impoverished country even in times of peace, is suffering the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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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.

When asked whether there was a difference in the message about Mohammed's culpability, Corker compared it to the "difference between darkness and sunshine".

Haspel's briefing was limited to the chairs and ranking members of the Foreign Relations, Armed Services, and Intelligence committees, as well as the Appropriation subcommittee, and majority and minority leaders. They are also supporting legislation to end USA support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which the Trump administration opposes.

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

"While I will not discuss the content of the Haspel briefing, it reinforced the need for a strong response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi", the New York Democrat said.