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Mattis, Pompeo brief House members on Jamal Khashoggi murder

With reporting by Rebecca Kaplan and Bo Erickson

Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pomeo held a closed-door briefing with House members on Capitol Hill about the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. A small group of Republican and Democratic House members received a briefing Wednesday by CIA Director Gina Haspel on U.S. military assistance to the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen's bloody civil war, as well as Khashoggi's murder.

Many members, especially Democrats, said they didn't learn much from the briefing and feel they need a CIA briefing.

After a similar meeting last week with a handful of lawmakers, senators from both parties said they were confident that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey in October.  "There's not a smoking gun — there's a smoking saw," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told reporters after that briefing. 

The briefing took place on the same day the U.S. Senate was to vote on a resolution to end American armed forces' support for the Saudi-led coalition in the country. If the measure passes -- it received strong bipartisan support in a procedural vote Wednesday -- it would be the first time the Senate will have voted to revoke military support from a war unauthorized by Congress. The House, however, will not take a vote on such a resolution during this Congress.

In an interview with Reuters on Tuesday, President Trump again brushed off bipartisan criticism that he's been too lenient on the crown prince. "He's the leader of Saudi Arabia. They've been a very good ally," the president said.

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