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Congress Threatens Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia over Journalist Disappearance

12 October, 2018, 03:59 | Author: Kristi Dunn
  • Report: U.S. Knew of Saudi Plan to Capture WaPo Columnist, Failed to Stop It

Trump told reporters he had talked with officials in Saudi Arabia "at the highest level" about Khashoggi's disappearance, but offered no indication on his whereabouts.

"Frankly I think that would be a very very tough pill to swallow for our country".

"What was explained to us is this: He was killed, make your funeral preparations", Kislakci said.

The Magnitsky process, which involves 120 day investigation, "creates lots of pressure" on the Saudis and the Trump White House, he said.

In this photo from February 1, 2015, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks at a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. He has said he spoke with the Saudis about what he called a "bad situation", and also said the U.S. was working "very closely" with Turkey. "We don't know what happened yet".

US officials quoted by the Post described the intelligence concerning a Saudi plot to abduct Khashoggi as too vague to trigger a warning to the journalist under longstanding American policy. The videos show one of two private jets arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport early in the morning on October 2, the date Khashoggi disappeared after entering the consulate to arrange papers for a marriage. A spokesman for the State Department insisted the USA government had "no advance warning" of Khashoggi's disappearance.

The Post, citing anonymous USA officials familiar with the intelligence, said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Mr Khashoggi from his home in Virginia, where he lived most recently, to Saudi Arabia and then detain him.

"If you let him get away with killing journalists in his 30s, it's only going to get worse, and so this has got to be nipped in the bud", Corker said of Prince Mohammed. "We don't like it and we're going to get to the bottom of it", he added.

While no suspects were named, and the lawmakers' letter to the president is only a preliminary step toward taking punitive action, it marked a departure from decades of close U.S. -Saudi relations that have only intensified under Trump.

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However, three USA law enforcement sources said that because Khashoggi is not an American citizen and disappeared outside the country, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has no automatic jurisdiction to get involved in the case and could only become involved if requested by a foreign government such as Turkey.

There are fears that Jamal Khashoggi, who's contributed columns to The Washington Post, has been murdered.

He has also repeatedly assailed Riyadh's role leading the war against Yemen's rebel Houthis, a campaign closely identified with Prince Mohammed that has resulted in thousands of civilian deaths and generated a major humanitarian disaster.

Trump said he didn't know what happened to Jamal Khashoggi and expressed hope that the 59-year-old writer, who went missing a week ago, was still alive.

"If the Saudi government sent a bunch of people to kill him and chop him up and then they left, if that's what happened, I'm telling you what's gonna happen on Capitol Hill is a complete revolt against our policies with Saudi Arabia, ' said Rubio, adding that would be "unfortunate" because the Saudis are important partners when it comes to "containing" Iran's influence. I don't trust them one bit".

Asked about suggestions that Washington should consider blocking further arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Trump told Fox that would hurt U.S.jobs.

Saudi royal guards, intelligence officers, soldiers and an autopsy expert were part of a 15-member team from the kingdom that targeted missing writer, local Turkish media reported. "We're working with Turkey, We're working with Saudi Arabia", he said.

"Therefore, I believe Khashoggi's assassination will lead to a significant imbalance of relations, which was clearly reflected in the call by American officials to stop exporting arms to Riyadh and to hold those involved in Khashoggi's assassination accountable".

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