The White House is reportedly preventing CIA Director Gina Haspel from briefing the Senate on the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.
On Tuesday, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that senators had been told Haspel would not take part in Wednesday's all-Senate classified briefing where Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis will also be present.
This contradicts indications that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are interested in hearing directly from her on the CIA's assessment of Khashoggi's killing in October.
"We were told that she would not be attending the briefing for members of Congress," Durbin said.
"That is extraordinary when we are dealing with the Khashoggi situation, the assertion by the State Department and intelligence agencies, her absence is obvious and it’s noted, and it raises a serious question as to whether this administration is giving us the whole truth," he added.
The CIA has provided the Trump administration with a tape of Khashoggi’s murder, which President Donald Trump has refused to listen to.
Trump has thrown his support behind Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who reportedly ordered the assassination of the dissident journalist on October 2.
He has maintained that the CIA report is inconclusive, telling the Washington Post on Tuesday: “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. But he denies it. And people around him deny it … I’m not saying that they’re saying he didn’t do it, but they didn’t say it affirmatively.”
Despite remarks by Durbin, the White House has denied blocking Haspel from briefing the Senate behind closed doors in a session to be held ahead of a vote that could cut off US support for Saudi-led war on Yemen.
When asked about whether the White House had done so, the national security adviser, John Bolton, denied it, telling reporters “certainly not.”
Trump has said he would stand by Saudi Arabia’s leadership on the issue because he needed Riyadh’s help to drive down oil prices.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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