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Warner: White House should ‘keep open additional sanctions’ against Saudi crown prince

Greg Nash

Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Mark Warner (D-Va.) said Sunday he believed the Biden administration should keep open the possibility of sanctions on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the release of a report concluding he ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Warner, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” conceded that “Saudi Arabia’s record toward dissidents and women had been pretty dreadful for decades” even before Khashoggi’s 2018 killing.

The Virginia senator added that “it was our intelligence committee that passed the law that made this report public” and said he agreed with the decision to sanction some individuals in the crown prince’s orbit.

However, he added, “I think they need to keep open additional sanctions against [Mohammed bin Salman] if we don’t see a change in behavior.”

The declassified Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s report found that the crown prince approved an operation “to capture or kill” Khashoggi, who at the time was a resident in Virginia but had traveled to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, where he was attacked, killed and dismembered.

Fox’s Chris Wallace went on to ask about the Biden administration’s strike in Syria against militias the U.S. has said are Iranian proxies and whether it would affect the administration’s stated intention to resume negotiations with Tehran.

“I think the Iranians are always going to test a new regime,” Warner said. He added that while “there needs to be punitive action taken” against attacks on U.S. troops, “I think it brings into question a whole new debate about the Authorization for Use of Military Force.”

Warner noted that senators were briefed about the strike on very short notice, adding that his colleague, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), has long raised objections to unilateral military action under the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

“The American people deserve to hear the Administration’s rationale for these strikes and its legal justification for acting without coming to Congress,” Kaine said in a statement last week. “Offensive military action without congressional approval is not constitutional absent extraordinary circumstances. Congress must be fully briefed on this matter expeditiously.”

Tags Chris Wallace Jamal Khashoggi Mark Warner Mohammed bin Salman Tim Kaine

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