US Senate delivers bipartisan rebuke to Trump's Saudi policy

The Latest: Pompeo to defend role in Yemen before senators

The Senate vote on the resolution, which could come later Wednesday, is not likely to be binding on President Donald Trump but would amount to a rebuke of his policies.

Mattis contended it is necessary and possible to demand accountability from the Saudi Government, which has told several, shifting versions of Khashoggi's fate at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, "while recognising the reality of Saudi Arabia as a necessary partner".

"I want to get briefed, OK?" he told a handful of reporters.

Many senators are unhappy with Mr Trump's response to the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a firm rebuke of President Donald Trump's Saudi Arabia policy, the Republican-controlled Senate voted 63-37 on Wednesday to advance a piece of legislation that would direct the president to withdraw USA forces from assisting the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.

Oil is among the subjects Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who United States intelligence has concluded likely ordered Khashoggi's killing, is expected to discuss with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina later this week, the Kremlin said today in confirming that Mohammed and Putin will hold a bilateral meeting there.

Graham says he will not support that resolution.

In the face of that, Congress is set to vote on a war powers resolution this week, which would withdraw USA support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, and is considering sanctions or other penalties for the kingdom.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman must have at least known about the plan to kill Khashoggi last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.

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Trump's attempts to whitewash the crown prince's role in the killing have come under criticism after the Central Intelligence Agency concluded with a high level of confidence that MBS ordered the killing of Khashoggi, according to the recordings, a key piece of evidence obtained by Turkey.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during a joint session of the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in the capital Riyadh, Oct. 24, 2018.

The Trump administration launched a furious last-minute lobbying campaign aimed at stopping the resolution, including a briefing in the Senate on Wednesday morning with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. We understand that Saudi Arabia is an ally, of sorts, and a semi-important country.

And Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who is often strongly allied with Trump, voted to move forward with the resolution and said he would insist on a briefing from Haspel.

Supporting Trump's stance, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Tuesday that he did not listen to recordings of Khashoggi's killing.

Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014, when Houthi rebels, allied with troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, captured large expanses of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The following day, Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor says the murder was "premeditated" according to information supplied by Turkey. Khashoggi's killing - which brought global condemnation of Riyadh - also renewed public outrage in Canada over Ottawa's controversial $15-billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles to the kingdom.

Bin Salman will be among the world leaders gathering for the G20 and few want to be seen shaking hands with the Saudi crown prince. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., that would require the Director of National Intelligence within one month to issue an unclassified report into the individuals that participated in, ordered or "were otherwise complicit in" the death of Khashoggi.

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