WASHINGTON – Sen. Lindsey Graham said following a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel that he is confident that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman played a role in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“I left the briefing with high confidence that my initial confidence is correct,” Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Haspel gave a select group of senators a classified briefing Tuesday morning about Khashoggi’s death.
Graham asserted that the prince would be found guilty “in about 30 minutes” in a court of law.
“There’s not a smoking gun; there’s a smoking saw,” the senator said. Khashoggi’s killers reportedly used a bone saw to dismember his body before deposing of it. His remains have not been found.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Haspel to brief the full Senate.
“While I will not discuss the content of the Haspel briefing, it reinforced the need for a strong response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. CIA Director Haspel should brief the full Senate without delay,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement.
A briefing was held last week with administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but Haspel was not present.
Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 in order to retrieve documents he needed to marry his fiancee.
Once inside, he was murdered.
The Saudi government has denied a high-level orchestration over the journalist’s death, instead attributing it to rogue actors.
In response, the government fired 5 officials and arrested 18 suspects.
The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered the murder, but the White House and senior administration officials have claimed that there is no direct evidence.
As a result, President Donald Trump issued a statement last month stating that no retaliatory action against the Saudi government will take place, citing its status as a key U.S. ally in terms of the economy and the war on terror.