Jamal Khashoggi
December 3, 2018

On Tuesday, CIA Director Gina Haspel will meet with the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senate Intelligence Committee and brief them on the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a person with knowledge of the matter told Politico Monday. The briefing was confirmed by Sen. Bob. Corker (R-Tenn.), who said it will take place at 11 a.m.

Last week, senators were briefed on the Khashoggi matter by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis, and Democrats and Republicans alike were mad that Haspel wasn't there. In October, Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul; it's been reported that the CIA has concluded his murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

After last week's briefing, the Senate voted to advance a bill that pulls U.S. support for Saudi forces fighting in Yemen. Corker said the Senate could start debating that measure as early as Thursday, but it likely won't happen until next week. Catherine Garcia

December 2, 2018

Exiled Saudi activist Omar Abdulaziz has shared more than 400 WhatsApp messages he exchanged with Jamal Khashoggi, showing that the slain journalist was privately highly critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, CNN reports.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed in October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and the CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered his murder. From October 2017 to August 2018, Khashoggi and Abdulaziz, now based in Montreal, sent each other text, video, and photo messages almost every day. Abdulaziz told CNN they were planning to start an online youth movement to debunk Saudi state propaganda and inspire activists inside the kingdom. "We have no parliament, we just have Twitter," he said.

Khashoggi and Abdulaziz discussed how to get untraceable SIM cards to dissidents inside Saudi Arabia and ways to get monetary donations. In August, Abdulaziz was tipped off that their messages were intercepted by the Saudi government, he told CNN. This occurred just three months after Abdulaziz was asked to meet with two Saudi government officials, who told him bin Salman wanted to offer him a job. They said he needed to go to the Saudi embassy to get paperwork, but Khashoggi told him "not to go and to only meet them in public places," Abdulaziz said.

In November, researchers from the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab told Abdulaziz his phone was hacked by spyware created by the Israeli firm NSO Group, at the direction of the Saudi regime. On Sunday, Abdulaziz filed a lawsuit against the Israeli company, arguing that they broke international laws by selling to a government known for human rights abuses. "The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say," Abdulaziz told CNN. "The guilt is killing me." Catherine Garcia

November 28, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) didn't mince words on Tuesday while discussing Saudi Arabia's role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In October, Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up a paper for his upcoming wedding, and once inside, a visiting Saudi hit squad killed him. The CIA has "high confidence" the murder was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. McConnell called the killing "completely abhorrent to everything the United States holds dear and stands for in the world. So some kind of response to that certainly would be in order, and we're discussing what the appropriate response should be." This could include sanctioning Saudi officials or placing restrictions on future arms sales, NPR reports.

In an interview Tuesday with The Washington Post, President Trump refused to pin Khashoggi's murder on the crown prince. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't" order it, Trump said. "But he denies it. And people around him deny it. And the CIA did not say affirmatively he did it, either, by the way. I'm not saying that they're saying he didn't do it, but they didn't say it affirmatively." Catherine Garcia

November 20, 2018

President Trump has conceded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "could very well" have known about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. But he's still not going to punish Saudi Arabia's government for it.

The CIA has reportedly determined that bin Salman directed Khashoggi's murder, and Trump is expected to receive a full CIA briefing Tuesday, per CNN. Still, the president signaled in a Tuesday statement that no matter what the CIA tells him, he still won't take retaliatory action against the Saudi government.

Khashoggi's Oct. 2 killing in Turkey's Saudi consulate "was a terrible one," Trump said. But regardless of who is responsible for it, Trump suggested Saudi Arabia is a "great ally," is "leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism," and has deep economic ties to the U.S. Giving up those ties would "be a wonderful gift" to Russia and China, Trump said, adding that it would fail Trump's "America first" mission. He additionally seemed to accept the Saudi government's criticism of Khashoggi. "Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that [Khashoggi] was an 'enemy of the state' and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that," he wrote.

Trump then cast doubts on what the CIA may have learned about Khashoggi's death, saying "we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder." The Treasury Department "already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder," Trump acknowledged, and his entire statement suggests this is the harshest action he will take against the Saudi government. Read the whole statement below. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 18, 2018

President Trump on Saturday downplayed Friday's report that the CIA has concluded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

"They haven't assessed anything yet. It's too early. That was a very premature report," Trump told reporters. "We'll be having a very full report over the next two days, probably Monday or Tuesday," he said, adding that it will include "who did it."

The president also praised Saudi Arabia as "a truly spectacular ally in terms of jobs and economic development." He has repeatedly resisted calls to end U.S. arms sales to Riyadh over Khashoggi's death and the Saudi military intervention in Yemen's civil war, claiming the economic toll on the United States would be too high. Bonnie Kristian

November 16, 2018

The CIA has "high confidence" that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, officials first told The Washington Post.

The CIA reportedly drew its evidence from, among other things, a phone call between Khashoggi and bin Salman's brother Khalid bin Salman, in which Khalid told Khashoggi to visit the Saudi consulate where he was killed. The crown prince told Khalid to make the call, per the Post. A team of 15 Saudi operatives then reportedly flew via government airplane to Istanbul for the murder.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 17 Saudis it said were "involved in" Khashoggi's murder earlier this week. But this is furthest the U.S. has gone toward implicating Saudi Arabia for the crime, per reports from multiple sources.

Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, and Turkey has long maintained the Saudi government was responsible. Saudi Arabia once said the murder was a predetermined rogue operation, but shifted to say it was a random killing when announcing charges against 11 alleged perpetrators earlier this week. Bin Salman is close with President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, and some have suggested the Trump administration avoided implicating Saudi Arabia to preserve an alliance with the country.

A spokeswoman for America's Saudi consulate told the Post that the CIA's claims in its "purported assessment are false." Kathryn Krawczyk

November 10, 2018

An audio recording of the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul obtained by the Turkish government has now been shared with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.

"We gave it to Saudi Arabia," Erdogan told reporters shortly before departing for France to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I. "We gave it to America. To the Germans, French, English — we gave it to all of them."

He did not comment further on what the recording contains, but reiterated his call for more transparency from Riyadh, demanding information on what happened to Khashoggi's body.

After initially denying all knowledge of Khashoggi's whereabouts, then claiming he died in a "fist fight" gone wrong, Saudi Arabia said in late October he died in "premeditated" murder. Bonnie Kristian

November 4, 2018

Salah and Abdullah Khashoggi, the sons of slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi, made an appeal on Sunday for the return of their father's body.

Khashoggi was killed in October inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Turkish officials say he was murdered by a 15-person hit squad that came from Saudi Arabia; Saudi Arabia, after initially saying the country knew nothing about Khashoggi's death, has since revised its story to first say he was accidentally killed, then announced he was the victim of a premeditated murder. "It's not a normal situation, it's not a normal death at all," Salah Khashoggi told CNN.

Turkish officials have said they are searching for Khashoggi's remains. The family wants to be able to bury Khashoggi in a cemetery in Medina, Saudi Arabia, with other relatives. "I talked about that with the Saudi authorities and I just hope that it happens soon," Salah Khashoggi said. His father was a "moderate person," he said, with his brother adding, "Jamal was never a dissident. He believed in the monarchy that it is the thing that is keeping the country together. And he believed in the transformation that it is going through." The brothers, who have two younger sisters, want people to remember their father as being "courageous, generous, and very brave." Catherine Garcia

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