Rubio: 'No doubt' Saudi crown prince was involved in Khashoggi murder

Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday there is "no doubt" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved...

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 3:03 PM
Updated: Dec 5, 2018 3:03 PM

Sen. Marco Rubio said Wednesday there is "no doubt" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in "directing" the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Just from what we know about Saudi Arabia, what we know about the crown prince and what we know about this murder leaves you with no doubt that the crown prince, at a minimum, knew about it and condoned it, and perhaps at worst was actually involved in directing it," Rubio told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."

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Rubio, a Republican from Florida, made his comments a day after a small group of lawmakers were briefed by CIA Director Gina Haspel on the murder of Khashoggi, which happened in early October in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. After several weeks of changing explanations, the Saudi government finally admitted that his killing was premeditated and carried out by a team of government officials, many within the prince's inner circle. The murder has become a lightning rod, dividing the White House and a usually supportive Republican-led Senate.

Rubio, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, was not present at the briefing but said that he had existing knowledge of what was discussed during the briefing.

"I'm on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, so everything they knew, whatever they learned in that meeting, we've known," he said.

"And here's why we know that (bin Salman was involved in the murder)," Rubio told Berman. "He has absolute control in Saudi Arabia. He basically governs the country at this point as the crown prince. The 17 people who flew into Turkey have now been publicly reported who they are. Many have very close ties to him. There is no way, and I mean no way, that 17 people that close to the crown prince get on a charter airplane, fly into a third country, murder someone in a diplomatic facility and fly back to Saudi Arabia and he not at least know about it, much less perhaps be involved in it."

"And I think you can conclude that without having been in that briefing or without sitting on the intelligence committee the way I do," he said.

Rubio also said top Trump administration officials -- including President Donald Trump, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- have been asserting that there's little evidence that bin Salman knew about the murder in order to preserve diplomatic relations with the Saudis.

"Well I think they're frankly carrying out the policy of the administration," he said. "We don't need smoking gun evidence, this is not a criminal trial. This is not an episode of 'Matlock.'"

"As far as the White House and their position is concerned, it is my view that they are trying to preserve from a realistic perspective the importance of the Saudi-US alliance, which I agree with -- it is a critical one. But all alliances have buffers, all alliances have limits. And the crown prince will continue to test the limits of this alliance until those limits are clearly set," Rubio said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
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Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
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Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
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George471472
Scott459196
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Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
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Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
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Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
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Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 787421

Reported Deaths: 14022
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1114521765
Mobile708161234
Madison49744633
Baldwin36201495
Shelby36186315
Tuscaloosa33818548
Montgomery33135678
Lee22590220
Calhoun21140410
Morgan19795335
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Elmore14444264
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Chilton6372144
Russell605355
Franklin5779101
Chambers5398134
Marion4789120
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Clarke462279
Pike461597
Geneva4396117
Winston425295
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Bibb408581
Barbour346570
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Monroe318153
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Henry301358
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Cherokee289455
Fayette279073
Washington245248
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Clay228365
Macon219258
Lamar196243
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