Sen. Graham: 'Impossible to believe' Saudi Crown Prince unaware of Khashoggi killing

Kailani Koenig

WASHINGTON — Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on Sunday harshly condemned Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over his alleged role in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, calling him "unhinged" and pointedly refusing to work with the prince in the future.

"The fact that he didn't know about it is impossible for me to believe," Graham said on Sunday's "Meet The Press." The South Carolina senator said he hasn't been given an official briefing on the matter, but maintained that the conclusion that the crown prince had a role in Khashoggi's murder should be clear to anyone with knowledge about the country.

"If he is going to be the face of Saudi Arabia going forward, I think the kingdom will have a hard time on the world stage," Graham added. "They are an important ally, but when it comes to the crown prince, he is irrational, he is unhinged, and I think he has done a lot of damage to the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia and I have no intention of working with him ever again."

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NBC News reported on Friday that the CIA has concluded that the crown prince himself ordered the assassination of Khashoggi.

Graham said he doesn't want to let the individuals who carried out the killing of Khashoggi to become "the fall guy," but instead, "I am going to do whatever I can to place blame where I believe it lies: I am going to put it at the feet of the crown prince who has been a destructive force in the Mideast."

Graham noted that he previously had a lot of hope for the crown prince's potential as a reformer in the region, but "that ship has sailed as far as Lindsey Graham is concerned."

Asked about the bond between the prince, President Trump, and Jared Kushner, Graham said "I'll leave it up to the president to find out how to handle Saudi Arabia from the executive branch side."

Graham also maintained that the crown prince's brother, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Khalid Bin Salman, should not be allowed back in to the United states as ambassador.

Graham also publicly called on the president to move forward on the issue of criminal justice reform, Graham, asking him to "pick up the phone" and lobby Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring their bill to the floor.

"The Republicans are the problem here, not the Democrats," Graham said.