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

Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Lawmakers worry as 'deepfakes' spread | New intel strategy sees threats from emerging tech | Google fined M under EU data rules | WhatsApp moves to curb misinformation Tlaib: 'Right wing media is now targeting my little sister' Airbnb is doing the Democrats' dirty work 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 TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing 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 MattisOvernight Defense: Supreme Court allows transgender ban to be enforced | Trump missile defense plan faces reality check | Experts warn of persistent ISIS threat 3 Michigan residents arrested for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS: DOJ The Hill's 12:30 Report — White House requests walk-through for State of the Union | Justices allow transgender ban to take effect | Trump vows to not 'cave' on wall 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.