Rubio: We don’t need direct evidence crown prince ‘ordered the code red’ on Khashoggi killing

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump UN pick donated to GOP members on Senate Foreign Relations panel Nunes on Mueller report: 'We can just burn it up' 18 state attorneys general call on Justice Dept to release Mueller report MORE (R-Fla.) said Sunday that the U.S. doesn't need direct evidence that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We don't need direct evidence that he ordered the code red on this thing," Rubio told CNN's "State of the Union."

"The bottom line is that there is no way that 17 people close to him got a charter plane, flew to a third country, went into a consulate, killed and chopped up a man, and flew back, and he didn't know about it, much less order it."

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The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi, which the crown prince has continued to deny.

Officials say Saudi operatives killed Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Washington Post contributor, in early October, reportedly torturing him and then dismembering his body.

GOP lawmakers have been divided since Khashoggi's death, with some emphasizing the geopolitical concerns surrounding the U.S.'s alliance with Saudi Arabia, and others arguing that it is essentially certain that the crown prince ordered his killing.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: 'Haven't thought about' pardons for Mueller target Pence: Rocket attack 'proves that Hamas is not a partner for peace' Conservation remains a core conservative principle MORE has taken the former position, underscoring the benefits of the U.S.'s relationship with the kingdom and the difficulty of definitively establishing whether or not Crown Prince Mohammed ordered the killing. 

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis16 times Trump said ISIS was defeated, or soon would be Overnight Defense: Pentagon chief under investigation over Boeing ties | Trump uses visual aids to tout progress against ISIS | Pentagon, Amnesty International spar over civilian drone deaths Pentagon watchdog probing whether acting chief boosted Boeing MORE said last week that the Trump administration is still investigating the crown prince's involvement.

“We are continuing to review. I am quite satisfied we will find more evidence of what happened,” Mattis told reporters.