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

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US Colombian official urges more help for Venezuelan migrants Lawmakers introduce bill to block U.S. companies from doing business with Huawei 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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist 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 MattisThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment Trump's pick to lead Pentagon glides through confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Highlights from Defense pick's confirmation hearing | Esper spars with Warren over ethics | Sidesteps questions on Mattis vs. Trump | Trump says he won't sell F-35s to Turkey 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.