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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 MurphyOvernight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Trump's Armistice Day trip marked by controversy | US ends aerial refueling to Saudi coalition in Yemen | Analysts identify undeclared North Korean missile bases US to stop refueling Saudi planes in Yemen Murphy easily defeats Republican challenger in Connecticut 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 CorkerJuan Williams: Trump's hostile takeover of the GOP Divided Congress to clash over Space Force, nuclear arsenal Flake not ruling out 2020 run against Trump 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 GrahamElection Countdown: Florida braces for volatile recount | Counties race to finish machine recount | Trump ramps up attacks | Abrams files new lawsuit in Georgia | 2020 to be new headache for Schumer | Why California counts its ballots so slowly Trump, California battle over climate and cause of fires Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress MORE (R-S.C.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDem senator: Scandalous that troops at border will miss Thanksgiving for 'no national security reason'  Overnight Health Care — Presented by Purdue Pharma — Dems close campaign by hammering GOP on health care | Senior HHS official dies | FDA approved cannabis-based drug now available | Bipartisan report looks into insulin price spike Democrats close campaign by hammering GOP on health care MORE (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyICE has record number of people in custody: report Schumer’s headaches to multiply in next Congress White House-Acosta feud is talk of town MORE (D-Ore.) — on Friday also criticized Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump to oust Nielsen as early as this week: report California wildfire becomes deadliest in state’s history Sinema’s Senate win cheered by LGBTQ groups 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."