After briefing members of the Senate, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that based on all the intelligence, "there is no direct reporting connecting the Saudi Crown Prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi."
"That's all I can say in an unclassified setting," he said.
Asked why CIA Director Gina Haspel didn't take part in the meeting, Pompeo said, "I was asked to be here and here I am."
He said that a resolution under consideration by the Senate to condemn Saudi Arabia for the murder is "poorly timed" because the U.S. is "on the cusp" of securing a ceasefire in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is bombing Iran-backed Houthi rebel groups.
POMPEO: Well, good morning, everyone.
Secretary Mattis and myself just had the opportunity to brief all the senators who wanted to hear from us. We talked about U.S. policy in Yemen and U.S. policy with respect to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
We also, obviously, spoke about the heinous murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and we made clear that they're considering debating a resolution on the Senate floor, which we think is just poorly timed.
We are on the cusp of allowing U.S. Envoy Martin Griffiths to, in December, gather the parties together and hopefully get a cease-fire in Yemen, something that we have diplomatically been striving for for months, and we think we're right on the cusp of that. And so it is the view of the administration, Secretary Mattis and myself that passing a resolution at this point undermines that. It would encourage the Houthis. It would encourage the Iranians. It would -- it would undermine the fragile agreement for everyone to go to Sweden and have this discussion.
So we hope that they'll consider that, be thoughtful in how they proceed. And we're happy to give them further information if they should so choose.
QUESTION: (inaudible) former CIA director, why wasn't the current CIA director with you (ph), briefing senators, as well?
POMPEO: I was asked to be here, and here I am.
QUESTION: But senators were very frustrated. Normally, in your past role as CIA director, you would be here briefing these senators on an issue this sensitive. Why isn't the CIA director herself (inaudible)?
POMPEO: I was asked to be here, and I'm here.
POMPEO: Yes, sir?
QUESTION: You've seen all the intelligence, presumably. Did you believe that the crown prince of Saudi Arabia ordered Jamal Khashoggi's killing?
POMPEO: I do believe -- I've read every piece of intelligence -- (inaudible) come in in the last few hours. I think I've read it all.
There is no direct reporting connecting the crown prince to the order to murder Jamal Khashoggi. That's all I can say in an unclassified setting.
POMPEO: Yes, ma'am?
QUESTION: ... in a high-level meeting with North Korea? Are there any scheduled (inaudible)?
POMPEO: I don't have anything to add on the sequence of events in North Korea. But I'm very hopeful we will have senior-level meetings before too long.
QUESTION: You say -- you say you're on the precipice of a -- a deal.
POMPEO: It's a deal, yeah.
QUESTION: ... or a -- a peace agreement.
POMPEO: Of the first opportunity for them to get together, yes.
QUESTION: All of -- all of Trump's public statements indicate that Iran is very far from coming to the table for negotiations. How do you (inaudible)? Which is true?
POMPEO: Well -- well, the -- the -- the parties that will be there will be those who are engaged in the civil war in Yemen. So there'll be representatives from the Yemeni government, from the Houthis -- all those interested parties.
We hope the Iranians won't upset the apple cart. They have been funding, arming, providing assistance and support to the Houthis, which have allowed the Houthis to continue to fight well -- well beyond what would have made any sense at all. And we do hope the Iranians won't upset this opportunity to both resolve the civil war and give everyone the opportunity to resolve a massive humanitarian crisis that's in Yemen today.
Thank you all very much.