Americas, Jamal Khashoggi

Trump's response to Khashoggi concerns US senator

'I am concerned that the Administration has yet to comply with the law,' says Senator Mitt Romney

Umar Farooq   | 15.02.2019
Trump's response to Khashoggi concerns US senator

Washington DC

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON

The state of Utah Senator Mitt Romney voiced concerns U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has not complied with American law.

For a second time, Romney criticized Trump for his administration's response to the killing of the U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist.

In November, Romney said Trump's stance on Khashoggi was "inconsistent" with U.S. foreign policy and the national interest.

This time the Republican lawmaker went further to call on Trump to disclose what happened to Khashoggi and the responses taken by the U.S.

"I am concerned that the Administration has yet to comply with the law, nor has it sufficiently explained why. As has been requested by members of both parties, I urge the Administration to rectify this urgent situation and brief Congress on its progress as soon as possible," Romney said in a tweet on Thursday.

Khashoggi was brutally murdered inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul last year. Riyadh initially denied any role in the killing but has since sought to blame his death on a botched rendition operation being carried out by rogue agents.

Saudi Arabia has sought to distance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from Khashoggi's murder, as has Trump.

"The question that Congress wants answered is whether any senior Saudi officials, including members of the Saudi royal family, were responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. By law, the President is required to report to Congress on these findings & imposition of sanctions," said Romney tweeted.

Last week, the Trump administration decided not to pursue further punishments against Saudi Arabia, and failed to send a report to Congress determining whether sanctions are warranted against bin Salman for the murder.

Senate Foreign Relations committee ranking member Bob Menendez sent a letter Thursday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting records as to whether any member of the Saudi royal family, including the crown prince, were responsible for the killing of Khashoggi.

The letter demanded Trump respond to the request made by Congress when it made a request to the administration last year to determine whether sanctions should be applied to bin Salman by invoking the Global Magnitsky Act.

Almost all Senate Foreign Relations committee members signed an additional letter in support of the one written by Menendez, calling for the president to update Congress on all the details concerning Khashoggi's death.

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