GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia

GOP senators: Mnuchin should not go to Saudi Arabia
© Greg Nash

A growing number of senators are urging Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinSecurity for Trump's Mar-a-Lago visits cost local taxpayers million On The Money — Presented by Wells Fargo — Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico | Senate Dems launch probe into Trump tax law regulations | Trump announces Fed nominees Senate Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations MORE to not attend a summit in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the disappearance of a U.S.-based journalist.

GOP Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGOP senator calls CNN reporter a 'liberal hack' when asked about Parnas materials The 5 most vulnerable senators in 2020 Poll: Democrat Mark Kelly leads incumbent McSally in Arizona Senate race MORE (Ariz.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee and frequent critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE's, became the latest senator to publicly say Mnuchin should not attend the Future Investment Initiative, which is scheduled for next week.

"Secretary Mnuchin should not be going to Riyadh," Flake said in a tweet.

GOP Sen. Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungIran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner Senate GOP's campaign arm hauls in million in 2019 Sens. Kaine, Lee: 'We should not be at war with Iran unless Congress authorizes it' MORE (Ind.), another member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said in a separate tweet on Tuesday that he does not believe Mnuchin should attend the conference.

"America’s basic and fundamental values demand a suspension of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. I continue to believe that Secretary Mnuchin should not attend the investment conference in Riyadh next week," Young said.

And Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial Parnas pressure grows on Senate GOP Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, indicated on Tuesday that he did not want Mnuchin to attend, saying it shouldn't be a "hard decision" for Trump to ask the top Treasury official to cancel his trip to the conference.

ADVERTISEMENT

Several high-profile figures — including retired general and KKR executive David Petraeus and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon — have pulled out of the conference in the wake of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump told reporters in Georgia that he he had not made a final decision on whether Mnuchin would back out of attending the conference, but expected a decision would be made by Friday.

Khashoggi has been missing since Oct. 2, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get paperwork needed for his marriage.

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."

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.

But Trump, as recently as Tuesday afternoon, has repeated claims by top Saudi officials that they were not involved in Khashoggi's disappearance.

Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday that he "just spoke" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "who totally denied any knowledge of what took place in their Turkish Consulate."