Graham on Saudi Arabia: 'I feel completely betrayed'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamCheney unveils Turkey sanctions legislation Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs War of words at the White House MORE (R-S.C.) said Monday he feels betrayed by Saudi Arabia over its handling of the death of Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

"The relationship is important, but our values are more important," Graham told CNN'S Manu Raju. "I've been the leading supporter along with [the late Sen.] John McCainJohn Sidney McCainLawmakers toast Greta Van Susteren's new show Meghan McCain: It's 'breaking my heart' Warren is leading Biden in the polls The Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash MORE of the U.S.-Saudi relationship. I feel completely betrayed."

The Saudis last week said that Khashoggi, a U.S.-based opinion contributor for The Washington Post, had died in their consulate in Istanbul after a fight with security officials gone awry. But that account came two weeks after Khashoggi had first disappeared after entering the consulate and after conflicting accounts from the Saudi government. The kingdom had previously said that Khashoggi left the consulate that day.

 

The Turkish government has alleged that Khashoggi was tortured, killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives, citing secret audio recordings. Saudi Arabia has denied Turkey's narrative.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP congressman slams Trump over report that U.S. bombed former anti-ISIS coalition headquarters US to restore 'targeted assistance' to Central American countries after migration deal Trump says lawmakers should censure Schiff MORE, prior to the Saudi investigation's announcement, that he had no knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts.

After Friday's account, which admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate, Trump first said the Saudi explanation seemed "credible." But on Saturday, Trump said the Saudis had not been entirely forthcoming but said he did not believe the crown prince had a role in the killing.

Graham pushed back against Saudi Arabia's explanation Monday, saying, "The first answer was a lie. The second storyline is just manufactured."

Graham told Raju that he believes "the answer is unequivocally yes" that the crown prince was involved in the death.

"If the prince truly loved his country he would not have put his country in this position," Graham said. "If he truly respected the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia he would have never thought of this."