The Senate voted on first steps to open debate surrounding the United States’ tactical support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
The vote followed a closed-door briefing in which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis attempted to sway key swing votes, but failed.
The entire United States government has come under intense pressure to discontinue its support for the Saudi regime following the murder of Washington Post journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.
One result of that mounting pressure has been increased calls to cut off all funding for the Saudi-led war in Yemen which has killed tens of thousands of people and has driven millions more to the brink of famine.
The president, however, has consistently valued weapons sales to the regime over justice and conscience.
Immediately following the murder, CIA Director Gina Haspel was invited by the Turkish government to listen to the audio recordings of Khashoggi’s death.
The White House, however, prevented both Haspel as well as any other intelligence official from presenting their knowledge and insight during the classified debriefing.
Both Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) expressed a desire to hear the CIA’s insight prior to making a final vote.
According to various Cabinet members, discussions to scale down the war in Yemen could begin in earnest as early as next month, and cited this as a reason not to rock the metaphorical boat with the withdrawal of support.