House Republicans move to gut resolution pulling U.S. from war in Yemen


USA intelligence officials have concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known of the plot, but President Donald Trump has been reluctant to pin the blame.

Already outraged by what they believed to be Prince Mohammed's assassination of Khashoggi-who fled the kingdom a year ago after criticizing his government's campaign in Yemen-U.S. lawmakers have defied pleas from the likes of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis to advance a measure to restrict the Pentagon's support for Saudi Arabia.

"I think every single member of this body shares grave concerns about the murder of Khashoggi and wants accountability", McConnell said.

The Senate is debating a resolution aimed at ending the U.S. involvement in Yemen.

But Trump told Reuters that Saudi Arabia has been a "very good ally" and that the crown prince remains "very strongly in power".

The Saudi government is now grappling with an global crisis over the murder of prominent dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"It was bad enough that Republicans for the first time ever used a legislative maneuver to shut off the privilege of a Yemen resolution last month", McGovern said.

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President Donald Trump has reiterated his support for Saudi Arabia, even as his own envoy to the United Nations claimed the kingdom and its de facto ruler should be held accountable for the slaying of a prominent journalist. Others already had concerns about the war in Yemen, which human rights groups say is wreaking havoc on the country and subjecting civilians to indiscriminate bombing. Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and the lead sponsor, said Senate passage of that resolution this week could by itself send a strong message to the Saudi government.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, is preparing a separate, alternate resolution condemning the journalist's killing.

While Trump has condemned the murder of Khashoggi, a USA resident and Washington Post columnist who was often critical of MbS, he has given the benefit of the doubt to the prince with whom he has cultivated a deep relationship. Asked to respond to the CIA's assessment that the crown prince, known as MBS, ordered Khashoggi's murder, Pompeo said, "Some of the reporting you've seen on that has been inaccurate".

"And I really hope that people aren't going to suggest that we should not take hundreds of billions of dollars that they're going to siphon off to Russian Federation and to China", Trump said. Those findings came after Saudi authorities spent weeks denying Khashoggi had been killed in the consulate.

A subsequent briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel only further convinced some Senate leaders that Prince Mohammed had knowledge of the operation to take out Khashoggi.

The United States will work with UN Security Council members to reimpose ballistic missiles restrictions on Iran next year, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said on Wednesday.