UN Secretary General willing to meet Saudi crown prince at G20 summit

UN Secretary General willing to meet Saudi crown prince at G20 summit

If the briefing supports his view the crown prince knew about Khashoggi's murder, Graham said "there will be no more business as usual with Saudi Arabia".

Senators are set to question top Trump administration officials at a closed-door briefing about the US response to Saudi Arabia over the killing of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL' khahr-SHOHK'-jee).

Graham, a leading voice within US President Donald Trump's Republican party, said on Wednesday that he would not "be denied the ability to be briefed by the CIA" on the Khashoggi case.

The complaints started with the personnel involved.

"Our work in bringing old enemies together eventually would bear fruit publicly as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the effective ruler of the kingdom, gave an interview in which he recognized Israel's right to exist in peace", he said.

Trump has said it may never be known who was responsible for the killing, and in public comments - and a long and unusual statement last week - he reinforced the United States' long-standing alliance with the Saudis. Haspel has traveled to Turkey as part of the agency's investigation, and heard a recording of the killing itself.

Trump has dismissed the CIA's assessment as inconclusive "feelings" - prompting backlash from the Republicans' most senior ranks. He even threatened to withhold his vote on key measures if that didn't happen and declared, "I'm not going to blow past this".

US intelligence agencies have made the assessment that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would have at least known about the plot to kill Khashoggi.

Several GOP senators, including Lindsey Graham of SC and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have publicly questioned Trump's handling of the situation.

"What I would argue to the administration is that somehow or another there's got to be a price to pay for what has happened", said Sen.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker said in the past he had "laid in the railroad tracks to keep us from doing things that I believe are against our national interest as it relates to Saudi Arabia".

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said the Senate had been "stonewalled from hearing from the Central Intelligence Agency director".

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said Washington was basically telling an ally "you can kill with impunity". The procedural vote sets up the beginning of a floor debate on the resolution next week.

Several senators said they were disappointed that CIA Director Gina Haspel was not present during Wednesday's briefing.

Meanwhile, Pompeo told senators that America's national security interests are at stake as they consider a vote to halt USA involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Senators voted 63-37 to advance the measure. He also said he was "more confident" after the briefing that the resolution would have enough votes to pass.

Pompeo warned that withdrawing American support from the war could undermine US efforts to broker a ceasefire.

Pompeo said it would be "misguided" to pull back what he characterised as limited USA military support and weapons sales to the Saudis on the eve of potentially promising peace negotiations led by the United Nations.

The Saudi-led coalition has hit weddings, market and schools with airstrikes, according to a United Nations report, and aid groups say a Saudi blockade has contributed to a deadly cholera outbreak, leaving thousands dead. "But degrading US-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the US and its allies", Pompeo wrote in the Wall Street Journal.

But senators were in no mood to back down.

Sine 2015, US armed forces have been sharing intelligence with the Saudis, providing them with aerial targeting assistance and aerial refueling.

But Senator Bernie Sanders, who is sponsoring the bill, said the time is now.

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