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'Zero' doubt Saudi crown prince directed Khashoggi murder: GOP senators

AFP  |  Washington 

Two key US Republican senators said Tuesday after a briefing by the CIA's they have "zero" doubt Saudi Arabia's directed the murder of the

The explosive new declarations by members of run counter to the narrative downplaying possible links between and the October killing of and palace critic at the kingdom's

"I have zero question in my mind that the directed the murder and was kept appraised of the situation all the way through it," told reporters after CIA briefed a small group of senators.

"If MBS were in front of a jury he'd be convicted in less than 30 minutes." Fellow Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has urged Trump to take a far tougher stance against over the killing, also attended the hour-long briefing.

He minced no words afterwards, saying he believes Crown Prince is "a wrecking ball" who is "complicit in the murder of Mr. to the highest level possible."

"There's not a smoking gun but a smoking saw," Graham added.

After reports that the CIA concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's assassination in the on October 2, Trump issued a statement saying US-Saudi relations and were too important to rock over the scandal.

Last week, under mounting pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle who wanted action against Riyadh, and held a closed-door all-senators briefing where they said there was no direct evidence linking the crown prince to the murder.

On Tuesday Graham swatted their assessment aside.

"You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under command of MBS, and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 01:00 IST