Pompeo says Khashoggi killing still being investigated

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Details on Senate's 0B defense bill | Bill rejects Trump plan to skirt budget caps | Backfills money for border wall | Defense chief says more troops could head to Mideast Trump defense chief: US may send more troops to Middle East amid Iran tensions Pompeo slams 'unconscionable' release of 'American Taliban' MORE on Wednesday said that U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing is still being investigated and that the U.S. intends to hold accountable those who are found responsible. 

"The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a tragic incident," Pompeo said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.”

“It’s not something that America approves of.” 


"We all know they’re still working on this, this is still a developing set of facts with respect to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," Pompeo added. "The intelligence community is still working on that."

Khashoggi was killed in October at the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. The CIA has reportedly concluded with medium to high confidence that Khashoggi's killing was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Pompeo would not say if he thought the crown prince was involved and emphasized Saudi Arabia as an "important ally" of the U.S., echoing comments made by President TrumpDonald John TrumpNASA exec leading moon mission quits weeks after appointment The Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Frustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' MORE and other top administration officials.

He pointed to the sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on 17 Saudis that Pompeo said have been found responsible in the killing.

Pompeo also cast doubt on the intelligence community's assessment, saying, "Some of the reporting that you’ve seen on that has been inaccurate."

"America has an important ally in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia," Pompeo said. 

"Fox & Friends" host Brian Kilmeade pressed the issue further and pointed out that even Trump supporter Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamNew Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes Graham: 'US must be willing to intervene in Venezuela' Trump Jr. slams Republican committee chairman: 'Too weak to stand up to the Democrats' MORE (R-S.C.) spoke out harshly against the crown prince after senators were briefed on the CIA's findings this month.

Graham after the briefing said there is not a "smoking gun" but there is a "smoking saw," a reference to the bone saw the Saudi agents reportedly used to dismember Khashoggi's body.

Pompeo insisted the "direct evidence is not available yet."

The Trump administration has faced pressure from a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers to condemn and penalize the crown prince over the killing, but Trump has declined to do so.

Trump has broken with the CIA over the issue of bin Salman's involvement, saying in a Reuters interview on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia has been a "very good ally" while declining to say whether he thought the crown prince was responsible for Khashoggi's slaying.

The Senate is poised to rebuke Trump over Khashoggi on Wednesday by voting in favor of a resolution to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.