After CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed a select group of senators on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said there is “zero chance” that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was not behind the murder.
As for misleading testimony provided by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, both of whom insisted there is no solid evidence linking the Crown Prince to the murder, Graham was unconcerned — though he said he would feel differently if they were Democrats.
“It is zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince,” Graham continued, echoing one of the CIA’s central conclusions that no operation so brazen as the killing of a prominent critic of the royal family on foreign soil could have happened without the knowledge of the crown prince, who is a notorious micromanager and exercises total control over the government.
Despite the intelligence agency’s conclusion, President Donald Trump, along with Pompeo and Mattis, maintain there is not sufficient evidence to point the finger at Mohammed.
“The reason they don’t draw the conclusion that he’s complicit is because the administration doesn’t want to go down that road — not because there’s not evidence to suggest it,” Graham said.
“I would imagine if they were in a Democratic administration I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia,” Graham said of the secretaries, “but since I have such respect for them, I am going to assume that they are being good soldiers … I would really question somebody’s judgment if they couldn’t figure this out.”
Trump has pointed to arms sales and Saudi Arabia’s strategic value in relation to Iran as reasons to tread carefully around the Khashoggi murder; however, both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are inclined to disagree.
Lawmakers are currently working toward a resolution on the Saudi-led war in Yemen that would urge the withdrawal of U.S. support, as well as a bill that would restrict nearly all arms sales to the country.