GOP lawmaker backs sanctions if Saudi Arabia 'responsible' for journalist's disappearance

Rep. Ted YohoTheodore (Ted) Scott YohoSecrecy behind Saudi nuclear talks infuriates Congress Congress can finally ensure horses are not tortured for ribbons and prizes Trump's decision on health care law puts spotlight on Mulvaney MORE (R-Fla.) on Monday said that he would support U.S. sanctions against Saudi Arabia under the Magnitsky Act if they are "responsible" for journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance. 

"Yeah, for those ones that are responsible. That's the whole purpose of that bill," Yoho, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball on "Rising" when asked whether he would support sanctions under the act. 

"That's a very powerful tool that the United States has in their foreign diplomacy, and it came out of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and we're very proud of that bill," he continued. 

The Magnitsky Act authorizes the government to sanction human rights violators, freeze their assets and prevent them from gaining entry into the U.S. 

A bipartisan group of senators has sent a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report MORE calling for a probe into Khashoggi's disappearance, and for him to determine whether the U.S. should slap sanctions on Saudi Arabia.

The legislation requires that the president make a decision within 120 days of receiving the letter on whether to put sanctions on another country.

Trump announced on Monday that he was sending Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump admin announces new restrictions on travel to Cuba Russia is gaining influence in Libya: How will Washington respond? Trump reverses policy, allows lawsuits against businesses in Cuba MORE to meet with the Saudi king after Saudi Arabia continued to deny any involvement into Khashoggi's disappearance. 

While Trump is facing pressure from Republicans and Democrats in Congress, he has been slow to put pressure on Saudi Arabia amid Khashoggi's disappearance and has defended a $110 billion arms deal with Riyadh. 

He said in an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday that there were other ways of punishing Saudi Arabia.

— Julia Manchester