Graham on Saudi Arabia: 'I feel completely betrayed'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death 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 McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death 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 TrumpThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch To ward off recession, Trump should keep his mouth and smartphone shut Trump: 'Who is our bigger enemy,' Fed chief or Chinese leader? 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."