The briefing on the status of the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing came amid rising tensions between the White House and Congress over the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida said he didn’t learn anything new from the briefing. Moving forward, he said, “the Senate will have to decide if it’s going to impose its own sanctions” on the government of Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi, a writer for The Washington Post, was killed in a Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul last year by Saudi agents. The Saudi government said the slaying was carried out by rouge operatives and denied the involvement of their crown prince.
Lawmakers have said they believe the Saudi crown prince ordered the killing, but President Donald Trump has been reluctant to place blame.
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said the briefing contained “zero” new information and said he was frustrated by the lack of an intelligence official among the briefers, a move he described as “purposeful.”
“They don’t want us to have a conversation about the intelligence,” he said, referring to the White House. “These folks had no new information and were not permitted to give us any new information.”
U.S. lawmakers had instructed Trump to order an investigation into Khashoggi’s killing, but the White House declined to submit a report to Congress by a deadline last month. The lawmakers made the request in October under the Magnitsky Act, which gave the president 120 days to respond.