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Senator Lindsey Graham after the closed-door briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, on December 4, 2018. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Senators from both parties have expressed dismay at the results of the delayed and incomplete CIA briefing on Jamal Khashoggi's murder, implying that Secretaries Pompeo and Mattis were not forthcoming at their own briefing the week before. Some senators have also publicly expressed clear views that Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing, counter to the White House narrative.

The big picture: The Khashoggi fallout has created a breach in confidence between the executive and legislative branches of government on national security, even while the same political party controls both branches. When Democrats take control of the House next month, tensions are likely to worsen.

The risks of failing to effectively engage Congress on the Khashoggi killing are two-fold:

1. It threatens to undermine the administration’s broader Middle East policy. That policy is rooted in the Saudi alliance in order to contain Iran and project U.S. power across the region. Now, senators feel emboldened to vote against U.S. support for the Saudi war in Yemen, oppose arms sales to the country, and to publicly deride its leader.

2. It will invite more, not less Congressional scrutiny. With a full House briefing on the Khashoggi killing reportedly scheduled for next Thursday, House Members will likely cover new ground in their questions. They may focus on direct communications between the White House and Saudi Arabia directly after the killing, when the cover story changed daily. For example, did the CIA pick up any of these communications, and, if so, what was said? All questions are fair game.

The bottom line: The longer the administration resists Congress and fails to acknowledge what its own intelligence agencies hold to be true, particularly about MBS, the greater the risk to both its national security goals and its ability to work with Congress.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and the former deputy assistant secretary of state for the House of Representatives.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

In photos: Egypt unveils 3,000-year-old "lost golden city"

A view on Saturday of the city, dubbed "The Rise of Aten," dating to the reign of Amenhotep III, uncovered near Luxor. Photo: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images

A top Egyptian archaeologist on Saturday outlined details of a newly rediscovered "lost golden city" near Luxor that dates back more than 3,000 years.

Why it matters: Zahi Hawass told NBC News the large ancient city, unveiled Thursday, tells archaeologists for the first time "about the life of the people during the Golden Age." Johns Hopkins University Egyptology professor Betsy Brian said in a statement it's "the second most important archeological discovery since the tomb of Tutankhamen."

1 dead as severe storms pummel the South

A tree that fell on a home carport damaged a vehicle during a storm in Central, Louisiana. No injuries were reported, according to Central Fire Department. Photo: Central Fire Department/Twitter

Strong storms lashed the South early Saturday, spawning at least one tornado and unleashing powerful winds and hail. And forecasters warned more severe weather was expected to hit parts of the region in the coming hours.

Details: Thousands of customers lost power in Florida, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana, according to tracking site poweroutage.us. An F3 tornado that hit St Landry Parish, Louisiana, killed one person and wounded seven others.

Scoop: Biden eyes Russia adviser criticized as soft on Kremlin

Photo: Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

President Biden is considering appointing Matthew Rojansky, head of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute, as Russia director on the National Security Council, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Why it matters: Rojansky has been praised for his scholarship on Russia and is frequently cited in U.S. media for his expert commentary. But his work has drawn criticism — including in a 2018 open letter from Ukrainian alumni of Kennan that blasted the think tank he runs as an "unwitting tool of Russia’s political interference."