CIA director Gina Haspel briefs a selected group of senators Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnists Jamal Khashoggi…
CIA director Gina Haspel briefs a selected group of senators Tuesday on the murder of Washington Post columnists Jamal Khashoggi and on a key detail that has put the Trump administration in violation of Senate republicans – whether or not the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved the brutal murder.
Her briefing can help the administration back support for its military assistance to Saudi Arabia’s led coalition battle in Yemen, but the fact that it is restricted to a smaller group has angered many senators, including Republican Allies by President Trump.
Haspel did not attend a classified briefing last week in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Instead, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis informed all 1
Senators were furious as Haspel did not show, blaming the White House to block her. Hours after that information, unhappy with the lack of response of the administration and unprecedented support for Saudi people despite the Khashoggi assassination, voted a majority senators to deepen the Yemen resolution.
Now, before voting to send it, the Haspel Administration sends response to the Republican presidents and top democrats on key national security panels – Senate Armed Forces, Foreign Relations and Intelligence Committees, and the Subcommittee’s Foreign Affairs Subcommittee.
It was not clear why the group was limited to eight senators.
“I think it would have been good to have the full Senate,” said Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican in Tennessee, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, said Monday. Corker voted to forward the resolution in Yemen to send a message to the White House and Saudis, he said last week, but called on the administration to provide answers so that the action would not finally pass.
When asked why it was limited, Corker said, “I do not know.”
The CIA refused to comment on Tuesday.
But Republican allies of the president excluded were quick to cry ugly. Late. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Blasted the Motion as a Sign of “Deep State”, Tweeting: “Why should not every senator know what’s happening?” The deep state wants to keep everyone in the dark. “It’s just ridiculous!”
The Senate is likely to take up the Yemen resolution next week, but a vote may come as early as Thursday. While just eight months ago voted down, the legislation now supports all Democrats and a handful of Republicans, which probably provides enough support to cope. The house blocked a similar bill in mid-November, but when the Democrats take control in January, it is expected to be a top priority.
Despite Saudi killings on Khashoggi and other aggressive behavior – their bombing campaign in Yemen, the arrest of Lebanese Prime Minister Said Hariri and their blockade of another US Allied Qatar – the Trump administration claims that Saudi people are a critical American partner and a stability in the region.
The argument no longer contains water in the Senate, even among some Senate republicans. Later, Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina republic, wrote an update in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, saying that Crown Prince Mohammed’s actions “all show amazing arrogance and ignore international standards.”
“Sajka’s Arabic latest behavior will help Iran by driving a wedge between the United States and our other Mideast allies. Lebanon, Jordan and others need to make sure that America will not bow to the Crown Prince’s lunar. He is a defense ball to US-Saudi relations, “he added.