Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Central Intelligence Agency chief Gina Haspel briefs House members on Khashoggi murder

TOPSHOT- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in the Saudi capital Riyadh The US Senate has said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi
Leonard Rios | 13 December, 2018, 19:45

The Senate is expected to vote next week on the Yemen resolution, but senators are wrestling with how to limit amendments to prevent a freewheeling floor debate that would allow votes on unrelated issues.

If the resolution passes the House of Representatives, it will go to President Donald Trump to sign or veto. Roughly the same amount of senators are expected to support the resolution tonight, sending it to the House. In a move that has infuriated many in Trump's own party, the President cast doubt on the CIA's assessment that bin Salman personally ordered the killing and has instead emphasized the importance of America's ties to Saudi Arabia. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Mike Lee of Utah and Chris Murphy of CT.

Two people familiar with the meeting said House leaders were receiving a briefing from Haspel Wednesday morning, a day before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are to brief the full House on the killing. "I think that will send the most defining action we can to Saudi Arabia", Menendez said.

In addition to Putin and Trump, Khashoggi is vying for the honor alongside families whom Trump separated at the US border in a bid to halt future illegal immigration; the director of this year's acclaimed Black Panther movie, Ryan Coogler; Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and Christine Blasey Ford, who brought sexual assault allegations against Trump's second pick for the US Supreme Court.

Corker said he hoped to introduce the legislation as soon as later Tuesday.

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The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet yesterday called for an worldwide investigation. Saudi Arabia has already detained 21 people and says it is seeking the death penalty for five.

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The resolution passed despite Majority leader Mitch McConnell's call on lawmakers to block the it, arguing it is too broad. Pressed on a response to Saudi Arabia, the president has said the United States "intends to remain a steadfast partner" of the country, touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the US and thanked the country for plunging oil prices.

While Trump has condemned the murder of Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist who was often critical of MbS, he has given the benefit of the doubt to the prince with whom he has cultivated a deep relationship. He was killed in what US officials have described as an elaborate plot as he visited the consulate in Istanbul for marriage paperwork.

Sanders and Murphy say two key moments contributed to the push's growing momentum: Saudi bombing of a school bus filled with Yemeni children in August, and what the C.I.A. believes to be the Saudi government-sanctioned killing in August of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi. Those findings came after Saudi authorities spent days denying Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said minutes later. And the Yemen resolution's sponsors have made it clear they'll try to pass the measure again next year, when Democrats control the House.

"The Arab countries understand exactly that Israel is not their enemy, but their indispensable partner" against extremists, he said, speaking of "new relationship between Israel and the Arab world". Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of NY, the likely incoming chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would hold hearings on Saudi Arabia early next year.

In some of their strongest comments to date, senators signalled they would like to see Saudi Arabia remove Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from power.

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