Rand Paul: 'Evidence is overwhelming' that Saudi crown prince was involved in Khashoggi murder

Rand Paul: 'Evidence is overwhelming' that Saudi crown prince was involved in Khashoggi murder
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Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe buck stops here: How to restore accountability to the federal regulatory system Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand Lawyer: Flynn will keep cooperating after co-conspirator revelations MORE (R-Ky.) said Sunday that the evidence is "overwhelming" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

“I think the evidence is overwhelming that the crown prince was involved. I don’t think we can sweep this under the rug," Paul said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

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Paul's comments follow reports Friday that the CIA has concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post who was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. 

Paul added on Sunday that he thinks the U.S. should end arm sales to Saudi Arabia rather than place sanctions on the Saudi officials who have been arrested in connection to the killing.

"The thing about sanctions is that I think sanctions are pretending to do something without really doing anything. Most of these people are in prison, other than the crown prince. But the crown prince runs the country and we deal with him," Paul said.

"If we put sanctions on people who are in prison, are we really doing anything to punish them? They’re already in prison. We need to punish who ordered this, who’s in charge. And really the only thing they understand over there is strength. ... If the president wants to act strongly, he should cut off the arm sales," Paul added. 

According to media reports, the CIA examined a phone call in which the crown prince's brother, Khalid bin Salman, urged Khashoggi to go to the consulate to pick up marriage papers. Khashoggi was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2. Khaled has denied the phone call.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpEsper sidesteps question on whether he aligns more with Mattis or Trump Warren embraces Thiel label: 'Good' As tensions escalate, US must intensify pressure on Iran and the IAEA MORE, who has been reluctant to point the finger at the crown prince in the murder of Khashoggi, said Saturday that reports of the CIA's assessment were "premature."