Angus King: Trump administration ‘giving a pass to dictators around the world’

Angus King: Trump administration ‘giving a pass to dictators around the world’
© Greg Nash

Sen. Angus KingAngus Stanley KingOvernight Defense: Senate rejects border emergency in rebuke to Trump | Acting Pentagon chief grilled on wall funding | Warren confronts chief over war fund budget Shanahan grilled on Pentagon's border wall funding Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law MORE (I-Maine) said Sunday that the Trump administration is "giving a pass to dictators around the world" by not punishing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

King said during an interview on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Trump's statement last week on Saudi Arabia, which reaffirmed the U.S. alliance with the kingdom, "was amazing because it made it sound easy."

"It basically said, ‘We’ve got an important relationship with Saudi Arabia, therefore we’re going to turn a blind eye to this.’ It’s not that easy," King said.

“We do have to make these difficult decisions, but so far what they’re doing is giving a pass to this guy, and I think it gives a pass to dictators around the world," he added. "That’s the danger. It undermines our values and the authority of our values across the planet.”

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHow to stand out in the crowd: Kirsten Gillibrand needs to find her niche Countdown clock is on for Mueller conclusions Omar: White supremacist attacks are rising because Trump publicly says 'Islam hates us' MORE has repeatedly cast doubt on whether the crown prince knew in advance of the plot to kill Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who was killed in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, and said last week that the U.S. would maintain a "steadfast" relationship with Saudi Arabia despite the murder.

He justified that decision by noting the Saudi kingdom's influence over oil markets and that the Saudis buy weapons from the U.S.

Trump also said in the statement that the crown prince may have ordered the killing of Khashoggi, but added that "maybe he didn't."

King said Sunday on "Face the Nation" that it's "pretty clear" that the crown prince was involved.

“You don’t have to be the CIA to put things together and say, ‘how could this have happened without the prince being involved?’ He’s in total control," King said.