CIA chief to brief House leaders on Khashoggi

Agency’s director to inform lawmakers about its findings on Saudi journalist’s murder

CIA chief to brief House leaders on Khashoggi

CIA Director Gina Haspel will brief lawmakers Wednesday on her agency's findings in its investigation into the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, according to multiple reports. 

The briefing of leaders of the House of Representatives will be Haspel's second on Capitol Hill after briefing their Senate counterparts last week. 

It comes as U.S. President Donald Trump and his top officials continue to deny that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman played any role in Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi went missing after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, with Saudi Arabia producing varying and contradictory narratives to explain his disappearance. 

Riyadh eventually admitted to his murder, seeking to blame the act on rogue agents performing an alleged botched rendition operation.

But the explanation has left lawmakers on both sides of the aisle unmoved, and they insist the operation could not have been conducted without bin Salman's consent. 

Following Haspel's briefing of top senators last week, several left lashing out at Trump and his administration, maintaining the administration is downplaying the links between the murder and Saudi Arabia's de facto leader.

"There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, a leading critic of bin Salman, referring to the instrument Saudi agents allegedly used to dismember Khashoggi's body inside the diplomatic building. 

"You have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion that this was orchestrated and organized by people under the command of MBS and that he was intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi," Graham added, referring to bin Salman, who is commonly known by his initials. 

Amid the outrage, the Senate is preparing to take up three legislative efforts in response to Khashoggi's killing. The chamber will likely vote Wednesday on a resolution to stop U.S. support for Saudi Arabia's ongoing war in Yemen. 

Another measure planned to be taken up this week is a formal rebuke of bin Salman being introduced by Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker.

The committee is also deliberating whether to suspend weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and sanction top officials, including bin Salman. 

It is unclear if the third effort will be taken up before year's end.