GOP senators, White House clash after CIA briefing on Khashoggi murder

GOP senators, White House clash after CIA briefing on Khashoggi murder
The White House and GOP senators are at odds over who ordered the death of Jamal Khashoggi. (Source: CNN/Pool)

(CNN) – Lawmakers were briefed Tuesday on the murder and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Some called Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman complicit in the killing, following the Senate briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Top Republicans declared the evidence is crystal clear that the crown prince is behind the gruesome murder after Haspel briefed a small group of senators Tuesday.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, pointed to the killers’ use of a bone saw to dismember Khashoggi’s body.

"There's not a smoking gun. There's a smoking saw,” Graham said. “You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi."

Sen. Bob Corker, R-TN, said it’s an open-and-shut case.

"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince, MBS, ordered the killing, monitored the killing, knew exactly what was happening, planned it in advance,” Corker said. “If he was in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes, guilty."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA, was outraged that the briefing was limited to a select number of lawmakers.

"My only point is that by the director choosing to meet with some, but not others, congratulations to her, she’s pissed off everybody," Kennedy said.

The fury from fellow Republicans stands in stark contrast with the White House, where top officials, including national security adviser John Bolton, differ with the lawmakers’ conclusions.

"Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Mattis both said, without qualification, they have read all the intelligence, as have I, and they didn't see anything that justified that conclusion,” Bolton said. “So, you know, we will continue to look. Additional evidence is always possible that will come up, but that's where it stands."

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