USA not covering up Khashoggi murder, Pompeo says

Clay Curtis
February 12, 2019

Saudi Arabia's foreign affairs minister on Sunday claimed journalist Jamal Kashoggi's murder was "a mistake" committed by Saudi government officials who had acted "outside their scope of authority".

A year before Khashoggi was murdered October 2 in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Prince Mohammed told Aldakhil that he'd use that bullet if Khashoggi didn't return to the kingdom and stop criticizing the government from his perch in the US, the Times reported on Thursday.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that the crown prince at least had knowledge of the plot. In a February 8 letter to Sen. Lindsey Graham to "hold the administration's feet to the fire" on Saudi Arabia and its admitted, pre-meditated murder of the Washington Post journalist.

"We believe the Crown Prince - MBS - had a hand in this".

On Friday, a State Department representative said Pompeo had briefed USA lawmakers on the murder investigation but gave no other details. Tim Kaine, D-Va., where Khashoggi lived. 'America should never descend to this level of moral bankruptcy'.

He echoed the United Nations blame for the Houthis, vowing that Saudi Arabia would "absolutely" allow passage of food through ports in Yemen.

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President Donald Trump has resisted such legislative efforts, viewing weapons sales as an important source of and standing by Saudi crown prince and Trump's ally, Mohammed bin Salman.

"The death of Jamal Khashoggi was a massive tragedy", he said. "And we will continue to provide assistance to the Yemeni people". The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the issue and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Lindsey Graham of SC, introduced legislation Friday that would bar certain arms sales to Riyadh in response to Khashoggi's slaying last October by Saudi operatives, and its role in Yemen's civil war.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN Monday that he is working with South Carolina Republican Sen. "So he doesn't have an option here". He said imposing sanctions now would be "putting the cart before the horse". "We can just make a determination ourselves".

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said after meeting with lawmakers Friday that Congress should wait for the outcome of trials of 17 alleged assailants of Khashoggi, including five men who are facing the death penalty. He called the slaying a "rogue operation".

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