Saudi Arabia ambassador returns to USA after Khashoggi's killing

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Murphy, D-Conn., on MSNBC's "Morning Joe", said the two officials had been placed "in a bad spot", during the all-senators briefing by President Donald Trump's "maybe he did, maybe he didn't" position on whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

A team of 15 Saudi agents, allegedly sent by Qahtani, assassinated Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Both advisors were dismissed amid the fallout from the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Graham, a vocal critic of Saudi Arabia who is close to Trump, introduced a bipartisan Senate resolution on Thursday meant to hold the Saudi crown prince "accountable" for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, a blockade of Qatar, the jailing of dissidents and Khashoggi's death.

The chief prosecutor's office in Istanbul filed an application on Tuesday to obtain the warrants for Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, described in court documents as being "among the planners" of Khashoggi's grisly killing.

"Maybe he did and maybe he didn't", Trump said, but noted the strong US interest in keeping Saudi Arabia as an ally and moving forward with a high-figure weapons deal that was helping American workers.

The murder has damaged Riyadh's global reputation and Western countries including the US, France and Canada have placed sanctions on almost 20 Saudi nationals.

Senators including Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., still want Haspel to brief the entire Senate on the matter.

Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the Appropriations Committee chairman, echoed that "all evidence points to that, that all this leads back to the crown prince".

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However, several reports have suggested that the Saudi prince was involved in the murder.

Saudi Arabia has so far detained 21 people in connection and is seeking death penalties against five of them.

"It's not a smoking gun, it's a smoking saw", said Sen.

The United States had, separately, sanctioned 17 Saudi officials it accused of involvement in the killing, and one of them had been a close adviser to the prince.

US Senator Bob Corker, the current head of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, also said he is certain that MBS ordered Khashoggi's murder.

In a blistering attack, Senator Lindsey Graham said he had "high confidence" Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, BBC reported.

Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told reporters after an hourlong briefing by Gina Haspel, the Central Intelligence Agency director. The vote last week allowed the Senate to debate the measure, which could happen as soon as next week, but senators are still in negotiations on whether to amend it and what it should say.

US intelligence assessments and experts say it is unlikely the killing could have happened without the crown prince's knowledge.

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