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Senator Bob Corker Says Saudi Crown Prince Would Be ‘Convicted of Murder in 30 Minutes’



Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) claimed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman would be convicted of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in “30 minutes” if there were a jury trial.

“I have zero question in my mind that the crown prince directed the murder … zero question,” Corker said. “Let me just put it this way. If he was in front of a jury he would have a unanimous verdict in 30 minutes. A guilty verdict.”

Corker, who is the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was among several lawmakers who expressed rage at Salman after a briefing from CIA Director Gina Haspel. Legislators have vowed to punish Saudi Arabia, proposing a measure which would remove U.S. support for the Saudis in the civil war in Yemen.

President Donald Trump has declined to blame Saudi Arabia––or the Crown Prince––specifically. Saudi Arabia, for its part, had initially denied any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance but claimed via state media in October that Khashoggi had been strangled in a fistfight with 15 men sent to confront him at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. The kingdom implicated some of the crown prince’s associates in the murder and Saudi authorities later detained several high-ranking officials.

The intelligence community, which President Trump has continued to ignore, concluded that Crown Prince bin Salman personally ordered Khashoggi’s murder. Sources familiar with the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death told the press that the murder “was organized by a high-ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence service.”

“To let it stand, in essence allows somebody like MBS to continue with immunity which is inappropriate,” Corker said, adding that the Trump administration “puts Congress in a place where now we feel like we need to speak out, that this cannot stand. I would much rather … the administration speak to this.”

Joining Corker in his denunciations was Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who will call for a Congressional resolution citing the Crown Prince as complicit in Khashoggi’s murder. Graham invoked the memory of the late Senator John McCain (R-AZ), saying that if he were alive “I believe he would be standing with me today, leading the charge to come down like a ton of bricks” on bin Salman for the threat he’s posed to the U.S.-Saudi relationship and actions which have “destabilized the region.”