Dem senator calls for ban on Saudi Arabian oil imports

Dem senator calls for ban on Saudi Arabian oil imports
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Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems talk Afghanistan, nukes at Detroit debate | Senate panel advances Hyten nomination | Iranian foreign minister hit with sanctions | Senate confirms UN ambassador Senate committee advances nomination of general accused of sexual assault House passes bill requiring CBP to enact safety, hygiene standards MORE (D-N.M.) on Sunday called for the U.S. to ban oil imports from Saudi Arabia over the death of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Heinrich, who is running for reelection, released a statement days after the Saudi government acknowledged that Khashoggi died inside its consulate in Istanbul.

"The United States cannot allow this gross human rights violation to go unanswered,” Heinrich said in his statement. “I am therefore calling for a ban on oil imports from Saudi Arabia until the highest levels of Saudi government are held accountable for their actions.”

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The senator appears to be the first to call for such a ban.

Saudi Arabia originally denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts, though the columnist was last seen entering the consulate on Oct. 2.

On Friday, the kingdom claimed that Khashoggi died in a fight inside the consulate, and announced that 18 Saudi suspects are being investigated in connection with his death.

In his statement, Heinrich also took aim at President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE, saying that he “would rather embrace denials and cover-ups rather than hold those responsible accountable.”

“The Saudis clearly believe they can evade real consequences under President Trump’s leadership and we as a country must stand up and prove them wrong,” the senator added.

Trump, breaking with lawmakers from both parties, called Saudi Arabia’s explanation for Khashoggi’s death “credible,” and praised the arrest of the suspects as “a big step.”

He also told The Washington Post “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies.”

Still, while the president has faced pressure to take action against the Saudis over Khashoggi's death, he has defended the U.S.-Saudi relationship and appeared resistant to cancel billions of dollars in arms deals with the Saudis. 

Turkish officials believe that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the consulate over his work, which was frequently critical of the Saudi government.

— Updated 1:53 p.m.