Dem lawmaker pledges hearings after CIA briefing on Khashoggi

CIA Director Gina Haspel briefed House leaders Wednesday on the agency's findings regarding the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Rep. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelChina must be held accountable for its egregious actions against Hong Kong Voice of America not extending foreign journalists' visas: report New York candidates left on hold as primary results trickle in MORE (N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee who is poised to be chairman next year, emerged from the briefing pledging to hold hearings on the issue in 2019.

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“The Foreign Affairs Committee intends to hold hearings after the first of the year about all aspects of Saudi behavior,” Engel told reporters. “And we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”

When asked if that includes investigating White House senior adviser Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump: 'Shouldn't be hard' for Kanye West to take away votes from Biden Trump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' On The Money: Supreme Court upholds NY prosecutors' access to Trump's tax returns, rebuffs Congress | Trump complains of 'political prosecution' | Biden rebukes Trump, rolls out jobs plan MORE’s relationship with the Saudi crown prince, Engel did not rule out that possibility.

The briefing was held for House Republican and Democratic leadership, as well as the chairs and ranking members of national security–related committees.

Other lawmakers who attended the briefing would not comment afterward or would only say it was “informative.”

Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerHouse panel approves bill funding WHO, paring back abortion restrictions On The Money: Deficit rises to record .7 trillion amid pandemic: CBO | Democrats sidestep budget deal by seeking 0B in emergency spending | House panel advances spending bill with funding boost to IRS House panel advances spending bill with funding boost to IRS MORE (R-Texas), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee who will be ranking member of the full committee next year, said the briefing did not change her mind on the issue but that she "couldn't say" what the conclusion is regarding the involvement of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Khashoggi's death.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered the killing of Khashoggi, who was a contributor to The Washington Post.

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Trump administration officials have publicly pushed back on that finding, saying there is no “smoking gun” connecting the crown prince. But after Haspel gave a similar briefing to a group of senators last week, they emerged more convinced of Crown Prince Mohammed’s involvement.

The Senate is poised to vote Wednesday on a resolution co-authored by Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Louisiana primary Oh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip MORE (I-Vt.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyConnecticut senators call for Subway to ban open carry of firearms Democrats optimistic about chances of winning Senate Gridlock mires chances of police reform deal MORE (D-Conn.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeKoch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads Gianforte halts in-person campaigning after wife, running mate attend event with Guilfoyle Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers to address alarming spike in coronavirus cases MORE (R-Utah) that would withdraw U.S. military support for the Saudi-led military campaign in the Yemeni civil war, a vote widely seen as a rebuke to Trump’s handling of the Khashoggi crisis.

The House is expected to get a briefing Thursday more broadly on Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

But the House is not expected to take up the Senate's Yemen war powers resolution this year. Republican leadership on Tuesday moved to prevent lawmakers from forcing a vote on the issue for the rest of this Congress.

Democrats have pledged to revive the issue when they control the chamber next year, starting in January.

Rep. Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithThe robbing of a wildlife refuge in Nevada House panel votes against curtailing Insurrection Act powers after heated debate Overnight Defense: House panel votes to ban Confederate flag on all Pentagon property | DOD report says Russia working to speed US withdrawal from Afghanistan | 'Gang of Eight' to get briefing on bounties Thursday MORE (D-Wash.), who is expected to lead the Armed Services Committee next year, declined to comment after the briefing, but he discussed his plans with reporters earlier on Wednesday.

Speaking to the Defense Writers Group, Smith said he would support sanctioning Saudi Arabia, including Crown Prince Mohammed and his top aides. He also said there needs to be a closer look at how Trump’s handling of human rights emboldened the Saudis.

“Why did Saudi Arabia think they could get away with this?” Smith asked, adding that the most "shocking" thing to him was that "Khashoggi did not present any sort of existential to the Saudi regime. But they have reason to believe they could kill him and the international community would shrug.”

Smith said that while he is a co-sponsor of the war powers resolution introduced by Rep. Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaSome in Congress want to keep sending our troops to Afghanistan House panel votes to limit Trump's Germany withdrawal It's time to eliminate land-based nuclear missiles MORE (D-Calif.), that would not end U.S. involvement in Yemen's war. That can only be done but cutting off funding for the Saudi-led effort, he said.

“At the end of the day, the president, going back to Thomas Jefferson, has always been able to do with the military what they wanted to do with the military, until Congress completely cuts off the money,” Smith said. “It is nonetheless important to do what Ro Khanna is doing and what Bernie Sanders is doing because it raises awareness and attention to the problem and the question of what we ought to be doing in Yemen.”