Graham pledges to 'sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia' over missing journalist
© Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats should rise above and unify against Trump's tweets US-Saudi Arabia policy needs a dose of 'realpolitik' Media cried wolf: Calling every Republican a racist lost its bite MORE (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said he would "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia" while blaming Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the disappearance of a U.S.-based journalist.

ADVERTISEMENT

"It's up to the president," Graham said on Fox News's "Fox & Friends" when asked what President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE should do about the situation. "I know what I'm going to do: I'm going to sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia."

Graham added that he was "personally offended" by the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi, who has been missing since Oct. 2, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork needed for his marriage.

He went on to say that he has been a staunch defender of Saudi Arabia, but warned that he cannot "do business" with the country until Salman is ousted.

"This guy is a wrecking ball. He had this guy murdered," Graham said. "To expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused."

 

Turkish officials have said they believe Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate on orders of the government in Riyadh.

CNN reported on Monday that Saudi Arabia was readying a report that would acknowledge Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong. One source told CNN that the report would likely find that the interrogation was carried out "without clearance."

Graham added that the Saudi crown prince is "toxic" and has "got to go," before turning directly to the camera to make his pitch.

"Saudi Arabia, if you’re listening, there are a lot of good people you can choose, but MBS has tainted your country and tainted himself," Graham said.

Khashoggi's disappearance has put a new strain on the U.S.-Saudi relationship, with Trump facing bipartisan pressure from Congress to enact swift punishment on Riyadh if officials there can't provide evidence that Khashoggi is still alive.

Graham's pledge to try to sanction Saudi Arabia comes as lawmakers are weighing how to respond if the allegations implicating Saudi Arabia are true.

In addition to potential sanctions, some lawmakers want pending U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia to be on the table, even though the Senate has blocked similar efforts during the Trump administration.

GOP Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungHouse votes to block Trump's Saudi arms sale Republicans scramble to contain Trump fallout GOP chairman introduces bill to force 'comprehensive review' of US-Saudi relationship MORE (Ind.) also told CNN on Monday that he did not believe any Treasury officials should attend an upcoming finance conference in Saudi Arabia. Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBudget talks between White House, Pelosi spill into weekend Conservative group raises concerns about potential budget deal How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE, however, is currently still expected to attend.