Congress should work with Trump and not 'cowboy' on Saudi Arabia, says GOP senator

GOP Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.) wants Congress to work with President TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE instead of “cowboying this on our own” as lawmakers consider how to respond to allegations Saudi Arabia is responsible for the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"I don't want to see Congress going out cowboying this on their own, I'd like to do it with the president,” Kennedy told reporters while discussing possible U.S. actions to punish the Saudi kingdom if officials ordered the killing of the U.S.-based journalist. Khashoggi disappeared earlier this month after entering the Saudi embassy in Turkey and is presumed dead.

“We can condemn their conduct - in this case Saudi Arabia - without blowing up the Middle East, and without destroying our ability to talk with them,” Kennedy asserted before listing several possible punishments.

“You could expel diplomats, you could do a U.N. resolution, you could curtail arms sales, you could do sanctions on individuals, I don't know the appropriate conduct,” Kennedy said before emphasizing that the president and Congress must be united and actions based on “U.S. values.”

Since suspected Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s Oct. 2nd disappearance, Republican and Democratic senators have called for sanctions on the Saudis and an end to U.S. arms sales. Additionally, some Republicans including Sens. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeSen. Coons examines Amazon's privacy and data security practices for Alexa devices Oil companies join blitz for carbon tax The Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget MORE (Ariz.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFrustration boils over with Senate's 'legislative graveyard' Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump GOP senators work to get Trump on board with new disaster aid package MORE (Fla.) say that Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report — After contentious week, Trump heads for Japan Artist designs stamp to put Harriet Tubman's face over Jackson's on bills On The Money: Senate passes disaster aid bill after deal with Trump | Trump to offer B aid package for farmers | House votes to boost retirement savings | Study says new tariffs to double costs for consumers MORE should cancel a trip to Riyadh next week.

Asked if Mnuchin should attend the Saudi-based investment conference, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTrump gambles in push for drug import proposal Biden's role in Anita Hill hearings defended by witness not allowed to testify 'Congress' worst tax idea ever'? Hardly. MORE (R-Utah) said: "I think he should go if he wants to.”

Kennedy however, sided with Flake and Rubio.

“Until we can get all this worked out, I don't think it's appropriate that he go,” Kennedy said.

Another GOP senator has gone a step farther in his pledge to take action on Saudi Arabia.

But Kennedy refused to comment on Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump declassification move unnerves Democrats Climate change is a GOP issue, too New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE’s (R-S.C.) Tuesday morning pledge not to do business with Saudi Arabia as long as Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is in charge.

-- Molly K. Hooper