Khashoggi murder: Trump reiterates support for Mohammed bin Salman

Khashoggi murder: Trump reiterates support for Mohammed bin Salman

Corker said the most likely Senate response to the killing will be a non-binding resolution declaring the crown prince responsible for the murder, along with a war powers resolution under consideration in the chamber this week that would restrict USA support for a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.

Pompeo and Mattis briefed the Senate last month and told senators there was "no direct reporting" and "no smoking gun" to connect Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to Khashoggi's death at a Saudi Consulate in Turkey. The House Rules Committee moved Tuesday night to make it harder for lawmakers there to call up a Yemen resolution if the Senate passes it.

Earlier on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo defended the Trump administration's handling of Khashoggi's killing, stressing Saudi Arabia's importance as a USA ally against Iran.

Aides to Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the House planned to vote on the measure if it passed the Senate. Despite charging the Saudi crown prince and his entire administration with the fate of Khashoggi, who was believed to have been killed and dismembered by Riyadh's agents, Haley recommended more than just a frank conversation with the kingdom's leadership due to this geopolitical dynamic. "They've been a very good ally".


Corker of Tennessee, who is retiring at the end of the year, said he hopes the House will take up the non-binding resolution by the end of this year if it's backed by a large majority of the Senate. McConnell urged senators to vote for Corker's measure, which he said "does a good job capturing bipartisan concerns about both the war in Yemen and the behavior of our Saudi partners more broadly". If the measure is no longer considered privileged, it would no longer move on an expedited path and GOP leaders would have more power to deny the measure from getting a vote.

During his interview on Fox News Wednesday morning, Mr. Pompeo said Mr. Khashoggi's murder was "heinous" and stressed that the USA took steps to sanction those involved. But Corker said the Yemen war and Khashoggi killing have likely set back the two countries' relationships for years to come.

Fahrettin Altun, director of communications at the Turkish presidency, said Riyadh's refusal to extradite the suspects was very disappointing and would play into the hands of critics "who believe Saudi Arabia has been trying to cover up the murder".

USA intelligence officials have concluded that the crown prince must have at least known of the plot, but Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.


Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and the panel's top Democrat, Senator Bob Menendez, said they were unable to resolve some details of a proposal to ban arms sales to Saudi Arabia and punish anyone involved in Khashoggi's killing by freezing their assets and restricting their travel. "Maybe he did, and maybe he didn't!"

Altun told Reuters that Saudi authorities had not been sufficiently cooperative and Turkey has seen "little evidence of the Saudi prosecutors intending to shed light on what happened to Mr. Khashoggi".

He said that the Senate "has a high level of confidence" that the Saudi crown prince was complicit in his murder.


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