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"If he was in front of a jury he'd be convicted in 30 minutes", said Tennesse's Republican Senator Bob Corker. And the Trump Administration's support of MBS was equally evident during a November 27 briefing that Haspel was conspicuously absent from.

For some of the 14 Republicans who supported the procedural step last week, the vote was intended as a warning shot to Trump, to inspire him to start openly condemning Mohammed or withholding military support from the Saudis.

Khashoggi was killed in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate on October 2 by a team of 15 people consisting of Saudi officials who arrived in Turkey for his murder and a cover-up operation, including dismembering Khashoggi's body.

They say Gina Haspel is to talk to Senate leaders leaders on Tuesday.

Corker was one of several lawmakers who emerged from a small briefing with the Central Intelligence Agency director appearing convinced of the prince's responsibility for the killing. "I think temperatures are up by all involved ... so figuring out something that can pass overwhelmingly still is going to be hard because some people want to tie the Yemen piece into the Khashoggi piece".

Graham said Tuesday the difference between the Haspel briefing and the one last week was "like darkness and sunshine" in terms of shedding light on MBS's involvement in Khashoggi's killing.

Both Republicans and Democrats say they want to punish Saudi Arabia but are unsure precisely how. Frustrated with the administration's response, senators voted last week to move forward on a resolution curtailing US backing for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

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"There's not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Graham said, in an apparent reference to reports that the columnist was beheaded, dismembered and his fingers were severed.

The comments come ahead of a briefing expected to be held next Thursday by Trump administration officials, including secretary of state Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Jim Mattis, to the House of Representative, according to Reuters.

When asked if he thought Haspel's briefing had changed any minds, Sen.

US intelligence officials reportedly have concluded that the crown prince, known informally as "MBS", must have at least known of the plot. He has touted Saudi arms deals worth billions of dollars to the US and recently thanked Saudi Arabia for plunging oil prices.

But Menendez contended that Saudi Arabia would remain opposed to Iran and rely on United States weapons systems in any event.

"If our government knows that Saudi leaders were involved in the murder of a U.S. resident, why shouldn't the public know this?" "I know about the information of the CIA's conclusions only by reading it in the media", Paul, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pointed out.

"If someone said Secretary Mattis or Pompeo were dishonest, they just don't know those individuals", Stewart told CNN. Speaker Paul Ryan last week said the Yemen resolution "isn't the way to go".

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