US Senate defies Trump on Saudi war amid Khashoggi fallout

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The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has said that downgrading USA ties with Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi would be a mistake for national security and would not push Saudis in a better direction at home.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, speculated that Haspel didn't attend because she "would have said with a high degree of confidence that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia was involved in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi".

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.

In prepared remarks released ahead of a closed-door Senate briefing, Pompeo said diplomatic efforts to end the conflict were underway.

Pompeo declined twice to say why Haspel wasn't there, responding with a smile, "I was asked to be here, and here I am".

But Gorka noted as a result of Khashoggi's death, there are calls to have the crown prince removed and for the U.S.to impose "massive retaliatory measures".

The briefing could determine how far Congress goes in punishing the longtime USA ally in the Mideast.

Much will depend on what senators hear from Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. A vote could happen later Wednesday but was not certain.

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Reports earlier this month said the Central Intelligence Agency had assessed the Crown Prince ordered the October 2 killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, but Mr Mattis dismissed them.

"I'm all for realpolitik", Flake said of Pompeo's objection that a withdrawal from Yemen would encourage Iranian misbehavior. So, some kind of response to that certainly would be in order, and we are discussing what the appropriate response should be.

The resolution needs a simple majority to advance in a vote scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Mattis lamented the journalist's killing while underscoring the need to continue a partnership with Saudi Arabia even as the airstrikes have killed tens of thousands of people, both civilians and rebels. "They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran", Trump said in a statement.

Pompeo's remarks echoed points he made in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, in which he characterised the reaction to the October murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi as heightening "Capitol Hill caterwauling and media pile on". "But degrading U.S. -Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies".

"All of that was caused by the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen three years ago, led by a despotic, dishonest dictatorship". Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, fell just six votes short of passage. Earlier this month, the US ended refueling support for the military campaign.

Alex Neve, the secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, says it will be vital for Canada to seek alliances with other countries gathered in Buenos Aires to make it more hard for the crown prince to dismiss global concern about the killing of a Saudi journalist.

Haspel's absence at the briefing on Wednesday morning was described as uncommon, with a US Senate staffer telling The Guardian that the decision to exclude a US intelligence official "is totally unprecedented and should be interpreted as nothing less than the Trump administration trying to silence the intelligence community".

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