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 MurphyLawmakers join Nats Park fundraiser for DC kids charity Democrats look to demonize GOP leader Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia 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 announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Meet the key Senate player in GOP fight over Saudi Arabia Trump says he's 'very happy' some GOP senators have 'gone on to greener pastures' 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 GrahamTrump shares Graham quote calling Ocasio-Cortez 'anti-America' Graham: Trump should focus on policy, not personal attacks The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by JUUL Labs - Trump attack on progressive Dems draws sharp rebuke MORE (R-S.C.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzHarris, Schatz have highest percentage of non-white staff among Senate Democrats Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question White House guests to get VIP tickets to Trump's Independence Day event MORE (D-Hawaii) and Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrat releasing book on Trump admin's treatment of migrants at border Sunday shows - Amash, immigration dominate Merkley on delaying endorsement: 'We have a different set of cards this time' MORE (D-Ore.) — on Friday also criticized Saudi Arabia's explanation for Khashoggi's death.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Camerota clashes with Trump's immigration head over president's tweet LA Times editorial board labels Trump 'Bigot-in-Chief' Trump complains of 'fake polls' after surveys show him trailing multiple Democratic candidates 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."