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Sasse knocks Trump over Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi killing: 'It is not strength to sort of mumble past that'

Sasse knocks Trump over Saudi crown prince's role in Khashoggi killing: 'It is not strength to sort of mumble past that'
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Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseGarland's AG nomination delayed by GOP roadblocks Republicans, please save your party Mellman: How the Senate decided impeachment MORE (R-Neb.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpHouse passes voting rights and elections reform bill DEA places agent seen outside Capitol during riot on leave Georgia Gov. Kemp says he'd 'absolutely' back Trump as 2024 nominee MORE's refusal to hold Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi despite the CIA reportedly finding he played a role was "very weak."

"If you want to make a hardcore, realist case that there are places and times when ours and Saudis' interests temporarily align, and sometimes you have to work with bad guys in the world, there’s a coherent, realist case to be made there," Sasse said on "Fox News Sunday."

"Making a realist case is a different thing than being so weak that we fail to tell the truth," he continued. "(The crown prince) contributed to murdering somebody abroad, and it is not strength to sort of mumble past that. Strength is telling the truth even when it’s hard."

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Sasse, who is among the most outspoken GOP critics of the president, said he and other senators have been briefed on Khashoggi's death by the intelligence community, and he expects to receive another classified briefing on Tuesday.

"The report is really clear, and the president should be stronger," Sasse said. "That was a weak statement."

Trump has drawn criticism from members of both parties for his decision not to dole out additional punishment against Saudi Arabia or the crown prince. He has argued economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries outweigh the need for heavier sanctions in the wake of Khashoggi's murder.

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of Saudi leadership, was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.

The CIA has reportedly concluded that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's killing. Trump on Thanksgiving sought to push back on that, asserting that the agency did not come to a conclusion, but may "have feelings certain ways."

The administration has thus far sanctioned 17 Saudis for their alleged roles in Khashoggi's death, and revoked U.S. visas for some officials deemed responsible for the incident.