Reasonable observers and analysts concluded weeks ago that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome killing of Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi. The Trump administration has issued sanctions against the individuals who carried out the crime, but Trump himself issued a strong, yet befuddling, statement of support for the kingdom, citing economic benefits for the U.S. In that statement, Trump vacillated on bin Salman's involvement: "maybe he did, maybe he didn't" know about the murder scheme.
Top Republicans in the United States are attacking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman for ordering the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul in October. Turkey says a hit squad from Riyadh killed and dismembered him.
Members of both parties who attended a briefing on Tuesday with CIA Director Gina Haspel left the session doubling down on their criticism of President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
"Saudi Arabia's a strategic ally and the relationship is worth saving - but not at all costs", Graham said. They are also supporting legislation to end US support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, which the Trump administration opposes.
"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.
He also said that Haspel "should brief the full Senate without delay". "So really, this is the deep state at work that your representatives don't know what's going on in the intelligence agencies", Paul said.
Senators would not describe the evidence presented by Haspel.
Haspel reportedly did not try to change the lawmakers' mind about the matter, yet the hearing led to a more outspoken stance from the senators.
"MBS, the crown prince, is a wrecking ball [and] I think he is complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible".
"If we abandon Saudi Arabia, it would be a awful mistake", Trump said on November 20, when he released a lengthy statement.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that Haspel would conduct a briefing. He has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the USA and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices.
"We are a coequal branch of government exercising leadership to safeguard the country's long-term interests, values and reputation", wrote Graham, a frequent ally of the president, of the Senate.
The president has been briefed by the Central Intelligence Agency, but his takeaway was dramatically different from that of the senators.
Graham (R-S.C.) said that the October killing of Khashoggi could not have taken place without MBS knowing about it. And for once, Graham and Democrats in Congress have found something they can agree on.
The vote on the Yemen resolution could come as early as Thursday and is expected to pass.
Saudi authorities have vehemently denied the crown prince was involved.