Hollywood’s Sean Penn in Istanbul to shoot documentary on Khashoggi murder

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Last week, the Senate voted by a wide margin to take up debate on a resolution to end controversial U.S. support for the war in Yemen being waged by Saudi Arabia and its allies since 2015 and to extend Global Magnitsky Act sanctions against suspected conspirators in the Khashoggi murder to the crown prince as well.

Khalid's return to the US comes just one day after a closed US Senate briefing by Central Intelligence Agency chief Gina Haspel.

"I would imagine in a Democratic administration, I would be all over them for being in the pocket of Saudi Arabia", Graham said of Mattis and Pompeo. "I think he's complicit in the murder of Mr Khashoggi to the highest level possible", he said.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was born in Saudi Arabia, was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October. It says Saudi Arabia should be held accountable for "contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the blockade of Qatar, the jailing of political dissidents within Saudi Arabia, the use of force to intimidate rivals, and the abhorrent and unjustified killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi".

Thus, every time the White House tries to put the matter to rest, it only appears to inflame the issue, which is also fueling support for a push to end USA involvement in the war in Yemen. "The motion to proceed's going to pass, and we're going to be in a courageous new world", the Connecticut Democrat told Roll Call on Tuesday.

"Somebody should be punished, but the question is: How do you separate the Saudi crown prince from the nation itself?"

'By extraditing all suspects to Turkey, where Jamal Khashoggi was killed and dismembered, the Saudi authorities could address those concerns'.

Corker was among the senators who participated in a briefing earlier Tuesday with CIA Director Gina Haspel about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There is not a smoking gun, there's a smoking saw", Graham said.

At last week's hearing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis told senators there was no direct evidence of the crown prince's involvement in Khashoggi's death. "And at the same time what is protecting US interests, what is going to counter Shia extremists; what will help bring stability; what will help bring an end to the war in Yemen".

The move by the USA senators came as Istanbul's chief prosecutor filed warrants for the arrest of a top aide to MBS and the deputy head of the kingdom's foreign intelligence on suspicion of planning the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and a critic of the crown prince.

Saudi Arabia has so far detained 21 people in connection and is seeking death penalties against five of them. "But since I have such respect for them, I'm going to assume they are being good soldiers ..." The Saudi coalition faced criticism for indiscriminately bombing civilian targets and infrastructure, though the Trump administration argues the situation would be much worse without US assistance. Obviously that's a huge sign of progress, but an even more important takeaway is the fact that these senators say they feel purposefully mislead by a Republican administration, and have made a vote against its interests. The next vote, a motion to proceed with the final vote, could come as soon as Thursday, Senate aides told Foreign Policy.

Graham has said the resolution would be followed by an effort to impose sanctions.

"I think there is an American desire to keep this at a certain level, to contain it within a balanced level, to allow the USA to project its power and to create greater advantage vis-a-vis the relationship with the Saudi government".