Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation

Dem senator calls for US action after 'preposterous' Saudi explanation
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDems shift strategy for securing gun violence research funds The Hill's 12:30 Report: O'Rourke jumps into 2020 fray Overnight Defense: Senate breaks with Trump on Yemen war | Shanahan hit with ethics complaint over Boeing ties | Pentagon rolls out order to implement transgender ban | Dem chair throws cold water on Space Force budget MORE (D-Conn.) on Friday slammed the Saudi government's explanation for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, describing it as "preposterous" and calling for U.S. action.

"For two weeks, Saudi Arabia has been lying to the world, telling us that Jamal was alive when they knew, the whole time, he was dead," Murphy wrote on Twitter.

"The new explanation is preposterous, and America’s moral compass has come completely unmoored if we don’t take action," he added.

Earlier Friday, the Saudi government for the first time acknowledged that Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.

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Saudi Arabia claimed in a statement that the dissident journalist, who was a columnist for The Washington Post, died during a fight inside the consulate.

Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump keeps tight grip on GOP Brexit and exit: A transatlantic comparison Sasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger MORE (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined other lawmakers on Friday in expressing doubt over Saudi Arabia's explanation, saying "we should not assume" that it "holds water."

“The story the Saudis have told about Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance continues to change with each passing day, so we should not assume their latest holds water," Corker said in a statement.

"They can undergo their investigation, but the U.S. administration must make its own independent, credible determination of responsibility for Khashoggi’s murder under the Global Magnitsky investigation as required by law," he added.

The Saudi government originally claimed earlier this month that Khashoggi left the consulate soon after he entered on Oct. 2 to pick up paperwork for his marriage.

Turkish officials, meanwhile, have said they have audio recordings that prove Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate, though Turkey hasn't released any recordings publicly.

Several other lawmakers — including Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham: Dems want to abolish Electoral College because they 'want rural America to go away' Overwhelming majority of voters want final Mueller report released: poll Bottom Line MORE (R-S.C.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel Schatz Advocate says Trump administration's new proposal would do 'absolutely nothing' to alleviate student debt Hillicon Valley: Huawei official asks US to ease restrictions | Facebook loses top execs | Defense officials hit Google over China | Pro-Trump 'safe space' app pulled over security flaw | Senators offer bill on facial recognition technology Senators introduce bill to regulate facial recognition technology MORE (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyBusiness groups urge Congress to combat LGBTQ discrimination in workplace Overnight Energy: EPA moves to raise ethanol levels in gasoline | Dems look to counter White House climate council | Zinke cleared of allegations tied to special election Will Washington finally do something about high drug prices? MORE (D-Ore.) — on Friday also criticized Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE told reporters during a trip to Arizona on Friday that he believed the kingdom's explanation was credible while he called the arrests of more than a dozen Saudi nationals in connection with the case a "good first step."