GOP lawmaker calls on Mnuchin to cancel trip to Saudi Arabia

GOP lawmaker calls on Mnuchin to cancel trip to Saudi Arabia
© Anna Moneymaker

An Indiana Republican is calling on Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: House GOP struggles to get votes for B in wall funds | Fallout from Oval Office clash | Dems say shutdown would affect 800K workers | House passes 7 billion farm bill Conservative leader Meadows will not be White House chief of staff Trump signs order aimed at revitalizing economically distressed communities MORE to withdraw his planned participation in a finance conference in Riyadh, following the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Rep. Jim Banks on Friday said Mnuchin should not participate in the Future Investment Initiative conference after the secretary told CNBC earlier in the day that he is "concerned about what is the status of Mr. Khashoggi" but still plans on attending the meeting.

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"Secretary Mnuchin should cancel his travel to Saudi Arabia later this month until the world receives answers about what happened to journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul," the Indiana Republican tweeted Friday morning.

Khashoggi, an opinion writer for the Washington Post who has been critical of the Saudi government, disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain a marriage-related document for his fiancee.

His disappearance has raised diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, with prominent U.S. media organizations, journalists and business executives announcing they will no longer participate in the Future Investment Initiative amid reports that Turkish officials have uncovered evidence that Khashoggi was murder by Saudis at the instruction of the Saudi government.

The New York Times, The Economist and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi have pulled out of the Riyadh conference, while other organizations such as CNN say they are evaluating whether to attend.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpProsecutors investigating Trump inaugural fund, pro-Trump super PAC for possible illegal foreign donations: NY Times George Conway: Why take Trump's word over prosecutors' if he 'lies about virtually everything' Federal judge says lawsuit over Trump travel ban waivers will proceed MORE indicated this week that his administration will look into Khashoggi's disappearance, and has said that if there's evidence that the journalist was murder by the Saudis it would threaten U.S.-Saudi ties.

"I have to find out what happened. I mean, I do have to find out. And we're probably getting closer than you might think. But I have to find out what happened," the president said in an interview with Fox News.