foreign-policy

3 Ways Congress Can Punish Saudi Arabia
Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder prompts bipartisan calls for action

Saudi officials arrive at the White House on March 20 ahead of a visit by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

Calls are mounting on Capitol Hill from Republicans and Democrats alike to impose stiff penalties on Saudi Arabia for its suspected murder of a prominent dissident journalist, as new gruesome details were leaked by Turkish intelligence on Wednesday.

The growing congressional outrage over the reported torture, beheading and dismemberment two weeks ago of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul is diametrically opposed to the signals coming from President Donald Trump, who has criticized the rush to judge the kingdom. A columnist for The Washington Post, Khashoggi was a resident of Virginia.

Jack Reed Talks Tough on Saudi Arabia Arms Sales
Key Dem on Khashoggi killing: ‘This outrageous act can’t be followed by a business-as-usual arms deal’

Earlier this year, Sen. Jack Reed joined Republicans in killing a push to end U.S aid to Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Now he’s striking a different tone. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The U.S. military should stop refueling Saudi Arabian aircraft fighting in Yemen and Congress should not approve any new offensive arms sales to Riyadh, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee told reporters Wednesday.

Jack Reed of Rhode Island also told a Defense Writers Group breakfast that a multinational, independent criminal probe should be launched to investigate the disappearance and alleged murder earlier this month of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Saudi Lobbyists in D.C. Caught in Pompeo Pickle
Some bail, while others wait to see what comes of Mike Pompeo’s trip

President Donald Trump meets with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia at the White House in March 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

Washington lobbyists still on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s payroll amid fallout from the presumed death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are awaiting the outcome of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s trip to the region this week before making any further moves.

Pompeo met Tuesday in Riyadh with Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the brash young second-in-command of the royal government, and planned to head Wednesday to Turkey where Khashoggi was last seen.

Donald Trump Complains Saudis Are ‘Guilty Until Proven Innocent’ on Khashoggi
President compares to Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process

President Donald Trump, seen here meeting with Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, in the Oval Office at the White House, has defended the Saudis as accusations of their role in the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi mount. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Trump Signals He Doesn’t Believe Saudi Rulers Involved in Journalist’s Death
Tweet follows conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Donald Trump meets with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House in March 2017. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump on Tuesday signaled he doesn’t believe Saudi rulers were involved in the suspected murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a telephone conversation with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

“Just spoke with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate,” Trump tweeted. “He was with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo … during the call, and told me that he has already started, and will rapidly expand, a full and complete investigation into this matter. Answers will be forthcoming shortly.”

Lindsey Graham Wants to ‘Sanction the Hell Out of Saudi Arabia’ Until Crown Prince Is Ousted
South Carolina senator has no doubts about murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Sen. Lindsey Graham will not return to Saudi Arabia until Crown Prince Mohamed bin  is removed from the Kingdom’s power structure. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Lindsey Graham plans to “sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia” in the aftermath of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“You know, we deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face. I feel personally offended. They have nothing but contempt for us,” the South Carolina Republican said Tuesday morning. “Why would you put a guy like me and the president in this box?”

Menendez, Pompeo Feud Over Diplomatic Nominees
Secretary of state accuses New Jersey Democrat of ‘putting our nation at risk’

From right, Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Robert Menendez, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker arrive for a hearing on July 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A tiff between New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is slowing down the confirmation of nominees for the nation’s diplomatic corps, already understaffed at a time of mounting global challenges.

Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, is objecting to some State nominees over their qualifications even as he continues to press Pompeo to fulfill long-standing oversight document requests.

Democrats Pan Trump’s Deference to Saudi King on Journalist’s Disappearance
President again siding with authoritarian leaders over U.S. intelligence officials, lawmakers say

Sens. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., left, and Tim Kaine, D-Va., criticized President Donald Trump for seeming to agree with Saudi King Salman’s denial of his government’s involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump on Monday for seeming to siding with Saudi King Salman, who denied during a phone call with the president that his government was involved in the disappearance of a Washington Post journalist. 

Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who was born in Saudi Arabia, has been critical of Salman in his writings. He has not been seen or heard from since entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

Trump: Missing Saudi Journalist Perhaps Slain by ‘Rogue Killers’
President says he’s dispatching Secretary of State Pompeo to discuss disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi

Demonstrators hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, last week. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump appears ready to believe the Saudi king’s rejection of charges he had a Washington Post journalist killed, using language almost identical to his statements that he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling.

“Just spoke to the King of Saudi Arabia who denies any knowledge of whatever may have happened ‘to our Saudi Arabian citizen,’” Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Republicans Laud Trump after Turkey Releases Pastor Andrew Brunson
Democrats welcome pastor home with open arms, but say there’s unfinished business with Turkey

American pastor Andrew Brunson, partially obscured at left, arrives at his home after being released from court in Izmir, Turkey, on Friday. Brunson had been under house arrest in Izmir since October 2016 while awaiting trial on charges of abetting terrorist groups and supporting Fethullah Gulen, the cleric blamed for the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)

Republican lawmakers lauded President Donald Trump and his administration and Democrats offered words of support after Turkish officials released U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson from custody on Friday.

“Thank you President [Trump], [Vice President Mike] Pence and [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo] for your work to get Pastor Brunson released,” GOP Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Brunson’s home state, tweeted Friday after news broke that a Turkish judge had decreed that Brunson be freed and sentenced to time served since he had already been in government detention for roughly two years.