Graham on Saudi Arabia: ‘I feel completely betrayed’
Sen. Lindsey Graham (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 McCain 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.
Lindsey Graham on Saudi: “The first story was a lie. The second storyline was just manufactured. The relationship is important but our values are more important … I’ve been the leading supporter along with John McCain of the US-Saudi relationship. I feel completely betrayed.” pic.twitter.com/HMkf2MWldf
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) October 22, 2018
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 Trump, 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.”