Senate Defies Trump on Saudi Arabia, Advances Yemen Measure

The Latest: Pompeo to defend role in Yemen before senators

Canada announced targeted sanctions on Thursday against 17 Saudi nationals it said were linked to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month.

"What this shows is that President Donald Trump hasn't been able to keep his own party, and his allies like Senator Graham and Senator Corker in line", he told Al Jazeera.

If the Sanders-Lee resolution does not pass, Corker said he could see members of the Appropriations State-Foreign Operations Subcommittee adding language regarding Saudi Arabia and Khashoggi to the final fiscal 2019 foreign aid spending bill.

Mattis later told reporters at the Pentagon, "there is no smoking gun".

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the Washington Post columnist, a United States resident, was killed inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October but has blamed his death on a "rogue" operation.

After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, Saudi Arabia admitted weeks later that he was killed there.

The senators' frustration spilled over Wednesday into a procedural vote on a resolution to end usa support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Senator Jeff Flake, R, said he went into the briefing planning to change his vote to support the resolution, and that he "remain convinced, there was nothing that's going to change my mind".

"The Trump administration's effort to rebuild the U.S. -Saudi Arabia partnership isn't popular in the salons of Washington, where politicians of both parties have long used the kingdom's human-rights record to call for the alliance's downgrading", Pompeo wrote.

A Senate resolution that would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen may be using humanitarian concerns as a pretext to dethrone Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, analysts say.

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CBS, CNN and the New York Times have all reported the CIA has intelligence supporting that Mohammed ordered the killing.

On November 19, in his first public remarks since the murder but without making direct reference to it, Saudi King Salman backs the crown prince - his son - and praises the judiciary.

Senators after the briefing said they were upset the Trump administration did not allow the Central Intelligence Agency director to brief them on the murder of a Saudi journalist and indicated they would continue to raise the issue, including through legislative means.

Haspel traveled to Turkey as part of the information-gathering process and is said to have heard an audio recording that depicts Khashoggi's death.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis both came to Capitol Hill to urgently lobby against the resolution, which would call for an end to U.S. military assistance for the conflict that human rights advocates say is wreaking havoc on Yemen and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing. "We have oversight of these people".

"Saudi Arabia is longtime partner of the United States, but its actions in Yemen and the murder of Khashoggi must have consequences", said Sen.

The years-long war, which began after the Houthis ousted the Yemen government in 2014, has wreaked havoc upon the country, and led to the bombing of civilians and a devastating cholera outbreak.

The two are also said to be trying to get Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu-Mazen) to accept the deal.

"I don't think the Administration won any votes, won over any troubled Republicans in that briefing", Senator Chris Murphy, D, said. This was a remarkable result, given how hard the White House had lobbied against the measure.

The U.S.is not directly involved in the civil war, but provides assistance to the Saudi-led coalition, including intelligence sharing and weapons sales.

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