Senate

Rubio raises questions about Saudi defense in Khashoggi’s disappearance: ‘Where’s the body?’

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) expressed skepticism on Tuesday about reports that Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in an interrogation gone wrong, arguing that such an explanation doesn’t account for a number of questions.

“Where’s the body? Why wasn’t the family notified? Why have they spent the better part of eight or nine days saying you didn’t know anything about it?” Rubio told CNN’s “New Day.”

The Florida senator, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Khashoggi’s disappearance is a “catastrophe” for Saudi Arabia, and a realization of concerns that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “would overestimate how much room he had to do things.”

{mosads}”Saudi Arabia is a big part of this Middle Eastern strategy … the risk in that was always that this guy was reckless,” Rubio said.

“This would really blow apart our Middle Eastern strategy, and it’s something we have to address from a human rights standpoint,” he continued. “Just because a country we’re working with did it, doesn’t mean the United States can just shrug its shoulders and say ‘nothing happened here.’ “

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who criticized Saudi leadership, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, but was not seen leaving.

“There isn’t enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights and the way nations should conduct themselves,” Rubio said.

Turkish officials have said they have evidence to prove that he was murdered there on orders from Saudi leaders, and U.S. lawmakers have in recent days indicated it’s increasingly likely Khashoggi was killed.

Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance, saying he left the consulate.

President Trump has expressed concern about Khashoggi’s whereabouts, but on Monday repeatedly pointed to King Salman’s denials and suggested without evidence that “rogue killers” may be involved.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, where he met with King Salman to discuss Khashoggi’s disappearance and express support for an investigation into the matter.

Tags Donald Trump Marco Rubio Mike Pompeo

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