CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed U.S. lawmakers Tuesday on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker.
The briefing took place after the CIA was excluded last week when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis spoke with senators about the journalist's killing.
Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post contributor who was a strong critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), was murdered in October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
The CIA concluded with 'medium to high confidence' that his killing was 'probably ordered' by MBS, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Despite the CIA's assessment, President Donald Trump has repeatedly dismissed it, calling it premature. Trump has, however, imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis for their alleged role in the murder.National Security Advisor John Bolton appeared uninterested last week in an audio recording of the killing that Turkish investigators shared with the U.S. intelligence community.
The Journal and other U.S. media outlets have reported the CIA has evidence that MBS exchanged 11 messages with a close aide who oversaw the murder shortly before and after it took place.
Saudi Arabia maintains the crown prince did not know anything about the murder, which it claims was an accident.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a staunch ally of Trump, supports a Senate rebuke of the Saudi government, despite the Trump administration's reluctance to do it.
Graham voted for a resolution last week that would cancel U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's involvement in the civil war in Yemen.
Graham wrote in the Journal that 'it is important for Congress to signal that there is no excuse for recent Saudi behavior.'