Senators Will Finally Hear From CIA Director Gina Haspel On Jamal Khashoggi's Killing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty

CIA Director Gina Haspel will brief a group of senators on the CIA report that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman most likely had a role in ordering the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey this October. According to the Washington Post, this will be a closed door meeting between Senate leaders and Haspel. In a few days, the Senate is scheduled to debate a resolution to withdraw American support from Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen.

The Post reports that the meeting will include “[b]ipartisan leaders from the Foreign Relations Committee, the Armed Services Committee, the Intelligence Committee and the Appropriations subcommittees that fund the State and Defense departments.”

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Before this meeting, senators complained that they were not getting enough information about Khashoggi’s killing. A similar meeting with the entire Senate took place last week, but only Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis were in attendance.

From the Post:

Some senators accused the White House of barring Haspel’s participation, prompting CIA spokesman Timothy Barrett to declare that nobody had told Haspel not to appear.

But the furor was so serious that even Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), a confidant of President Trump’s, said he would refuse to support “any key vote” until Haspel came to the Hill to speak to lawmakers. As the senior Republican on the Appropriations panel for state and foreign operations, Graham will be part of the briefing.

The resolution to end support for the kingdom’s war in Yemen was initially proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican Sen. Mike Lee and was moved to a vote with the unexpected help of 14 Republican senators. According to the Post, the briefing from Haspel might be enough to mollify those senators, but Democrats are still likely to support the resolution when it’s brought to a vote.

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