Published: Fri, December 07, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Sean Penn is making a Jamal Khashoggi documentary in Istanbul

Sean Penn is making a Jamal Khashoggi documentary in Istanbul

President Trump and members of his administration have dismissed the CIA's conclusion that the crown prince was behind Khashoggi's killing and have rejected taking action against the country.

Two key Republican senators said Tuesday a briefing by Central Intelligence Agency director Gina Haspel had only strengthened their conviction Prince Mohammed was behind the crime - a charge he denies.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pushed to keep global attention on the murder - the order for which he says came from the highest levels of the Saudi Arabian government - even as US President Donald Trump has said that Washington should not take action that would undermine its relationship with the kingdom. Lindsey Graham and Tennessee Sen.

Now senators who believe even more strongly that Mohammed helped coordinate Khashoggi's killing will explore legislative options to punish Saudi Arabia, including bills or amendments that could withdraw US support of Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen, impose additional sanctions, or end weapons sales to the country.

Officials in the Istanbul prosecutor's office confirmed to ABC News that the wanted men, royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri, are accused of planning and overseeing the killing of Khashoggi, which took place in the Saudi Arabian consulate building in Istanbul on October 2.

The resolution also criticises Saudi Arabia for the war in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, and a crackdown on dissent in the kingdom.

The Senate is expected to vote on the war powers resolution next week, but lawmakers have not yet agreed on how, or whether, it should be amended.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who has already established himself as a Trump critic, was even bolder in his criticism. "The motion to proceed's going to pass, and we're going to be in a courageous new world", the Connecticut Democrat told Roll Call on Tuesday. Blunt did attend a briefing on Khashoggi's death last month led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.

A Saudi prosecutor charged 11 government officials in October for alleged involvement, some whom could face the death penalty if found guilty.

He also advocated suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia until those responsible for Khashoggi's murder are held to account.

"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. "I'm not going to blow past this", he said.

Durbin joined Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer in calling for a full-Senate briefing from Haspel.

The decision to limit Haspel's briefing to fewer than a dozen senators has angered others, like Sen.

"I went in believing the crown prince was directly responsible or at least complicit in this and my feelings were strengthened by the information we were given", Durbin said. "As to Pompeo and Mattis, I have great respect for them".

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