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 EngelHoyer: Dems will move quickly on anti-Israel boycott bill Trump faces criticism for hosting Hungary's leader This week: Barr back in hot seat over Mueller report 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 KushnerWhite House encouraging investment in Middle East as part of peace plan Bank staff highlighted 'suspicious activity' in Trump-, Kushner-controlled accounts: report Trump: 'Good chance' Dems give immigration 'win' after Pelosi called White House plan 'dead on arrival' 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 GrangerOvernight Defense: Lawmakers on edge over Iran tensions | Questions rise after State pulls personnel from Iraq | Senators demand briefing | House panel advances 0B Pentagon spending bill | Warren offers plan on climate threats to military Democrats advance spending bills boosting EPA, defying Trump House panel advances 0B Pentagon spending bill that limits border wall efforts 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 SandersButtigieg defends appearing on Fox News: Many Americans don't hear Dems' message Buttigieg: The future 'is personal' for me Donald Trump, president for life? We need term limits now MORE (I-Vt.), Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyConnecticut radio station rebrands itself 'Trump 103.3' Foreign Relations senators demand Iran briefing Prosecutor appointed by Barr poised to enter Washington firestorm MORE (D-Conn.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBolton emerges as flashpoint in GOP debate on Iran Frustrated GOP senators want answers from Trump on Iran Congress can expand paid leave and help workers save with bipartisan support 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 SmithLet's talk about education and school choice in 2020 Overnight Defense: Lawmakers on edge over Iran tensions | Questions rise after State pulls personnel from Iraq | Senators demand briefing | House panel advances 0B Pentagon spending bill | Warren offers plan on climate threats to military House Dems unveil bill to limit Pentagon's ability to transfer military construction dollars 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) KhannaDem rep: You can't be a Democrat if you don't support abortion, LGBTQ rights House passes drug pricing bills amid ObamaCare row John Cusack calls for Trump's impeachment in Capitol Hill visit 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.”