PoliticsForeign Policy


Lawmakers Push For Briefing On Saudis From CIA Director

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis held a closed-door briefing for senators Wednesday.
Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 28, 2018

Senators are pushing for a briefing on Jamal Khashoggi's killing from CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis urged lawmakers to support Saudi Arabia in a closed-door briefing Wednesday. But after the meeting, senators from both parties complained that Haspel wasn't made available and accused the White House of stifling information.

"That was a clear effort, interpreted by the senators, to be an effort to not give us full information about the Khashoggi situation," Sen. Tim Kaine said. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham even threatened to withhold his vote on key issues if senators don't get a CIA briefing. The CIA has reportedly determined Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder, something President Donald Trump has denied.

The back-and-forth comes as some senators are raising the possibility of cutting support for Saudi Arabia's military action in Yemen and ending weapons sales to the kingdom.

In Wednesday's briefing, Pompeo called on lawmakers to hold off on sanctions, saying they could undermine potential negotiations toward a cease-fire in Yemen

Additional reporting by Newsy affiliate CNN