President Trump and senior members of his administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, have insisted that no single piece of evidence irrefutably links [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed [bin Salman] to the killing [of journalist Jamal Khashoggi].
But [after a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel] the senators, in effect, said that doesn’t matter, because the evidence they heard convinced them beyond the shadow of a doubt.
“If the Crown Prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations.
Graham leveled sharp criticism at Pompeo and Mattis.
“I think Secretary Pompeo and Mattis are following the lead of the president,” Graham said, adding that one would “have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion” that Mohammed was “intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.”
“It is zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince,” Graham continued, echoing one of the CIA’s central conclusions that no operation so brazen as the killing of a prominent critic of the royal family on foreign soil could have happened without the knowledge of the crown prince, who is a notorious micromanager and exercises total control over the government.
“The reason they don’t draw the conclusion that he’s complicit is because the administration doesn’t want to go down that road — not because there’s not evidence to suggest it,” Graham said. [Continue reading…]