US senators pin Khashoggi murder on Saudi crown prince

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A bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers has introduced a resolution condemning Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and declaring in no uncertain terms that he is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi, a United States resident, was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

During his visit, Penn is expected to meet with the Washington Post columnist's fiance, Hatice Cengiz, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

Corker and other Republican senators, such as Lindsey Graham of SC, have slammed President Donald Trump repeatedly for his stance toward Saudi Arabia following the October 2 killing of Khashoggi, who was a columnist for The Washington Post and a US resident.

Prosecutor's say there is "strong suspicion" that royal court adviser chief Saud al-Qahtani and deputy head of intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri were among the planners of the October 2 murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Istanbul prosecutor in charge of the Turkish investigation said in late October that Khashoggi, a former Saudi insider turned critic, was strangled then his body was cut into pieces.

Riyadh could "address those concerns" by extraditing the suspects to Turkey, the official said.

The first vote would be on a motion to proceed to the joint resolution that seeks to stop USA support for the Saudi-led military intervention in Yemen.

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"I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder and was kept appraised of the situation all the way through it", Corker said.

The proposal, brought by six senators from both political parties on Wednesday, declares with a "a high level of confidence" that Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, also known as MbS, "was complicit" in the murder of Khashoggi. In an interview with CNN last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they had no direct evidence to prove Prince Mohammed was behind the murder.

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said. Initially, Saudi authorities had said Khashoggi, who had written articles critical of the crown prince's policies, had disappeared, after safely leaving the consulate.

Saudi Arabia has detained 21 people and seeking the death penalty for five. Marco Rubio said Wednesday, citing what he knows from being on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The non-binding resolution is also seeking to hold the crown prince accountable for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents in Riyadh and the use of force to intimidate rivals. But Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) called the evidence "overwheming" and said that someone would have to be "willfully blind" to come to any conclusion except that Mohammed was involved with Khashoggi's murder.

Trump alluded to this business relationship in a statement absolving Saudi Arabia of the murder.

Breaking with President Donald Trump, U.S. senators leaving a briefing with CIA Director Gina Haspel on December 4 said they are even more convinced that Prince Mohammed was involved in Khashoggi's death.

The CIA has concluded Mohammed bin Salman "probably ordered" the killing of Khashoggi.

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