Senator Bob Corker said he thinks Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "directed" the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host John Dickerson, Corker said it "doesn't matter" if there's no "smoking gun."
"I think he directed it but even if he didn't, which I don't think is the case, he's responsible for the agency that carried out the killing and he's taken no ownership of it," Corker said. "If the CEO of your network, if something terrible happens, the CEO owns it and that to me, again I think he directed it, he knew all about it."
Khashoggi was last seen entering a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. The CIA has intelligence substantiating an assessment that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's death. It's based on the crown prince's control over the country, with the assumption being the operation could not have been ordered without his knowledge.
Despite that, the Trump administration said there would be no further punishment for Khashoggi's death.
"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event," the president said in a statement. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" He stressed the economic relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, later telling reporters his administration was "not going to give up hundreds of billions of dollars."
Corker said right now the focus is "100 percent" on the relationship with Saudi Arabia, and not on "American values."
"We're the standard bearer in the world. We are still in spite of where people may view us to be this very day, we are still this shining city on the hill. When we degrade ourselves by not focusing on the moral values, what it does is send a signal to the world that there's only one thing we care about and that is money," Corker said.
Corker, along with other Republican senators, have been critical of the Trump administration's response to Khashoggi's death, especially after a briefing this week with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis.
But CIA Director Gina Haspel, who listened to audio that allegedly recorded Khashoggi's death, was absent from the briefing. Sen. Lindsey Graham threatened to withhold his vote on a spending bill until he heard directly from the CIA about Khashoggi's death. Graham said Thursday he's going to be briefed by the CIA "soon."
Watch Dickerson's full interview with Corker on "CBS This Morning," Friday, Dec. 7, 7:00-9:00 a.m. ET.