Senate Democrat: Saudi relationship being 'recalibrated'

Senate Democrat: Saudi relationship being 'recalibrated'
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A Democratic senator said Sunday that he is "optimistic" that the Biden administration will deliver justice for Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist thought to have been murdered by Saudi agents in 2018.

Speaking with CNN's Dana BashDana BashManchin suggests pausing talks on .5 trillion package until 2022: report House is no easy road for Biden, Democrats on .5T package Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Manchin: key energy provision of spending package 'makes no sense' MORE on "State of the Union," Sen. Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden threatens more sanctions on Ethiopia, Eritrea over Tigray conflict Senate Democrats to Garland: 'It's time to end the federal death penalty' MORE (D-Del.) argued that President BidenJoe BidenFighter jet escorts aircraft that entered restricted airspace during UN gathering Julian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy FBI investigating alleged assault on Fort Bliss soldier at Afghan refugee camp MORE has taken "bolder" steps against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who the U.S. intelligence community said last week it believes is responsible for ordering Khashoggi's murder, while adding that the U.S. is "recalibrating" its relationship with Saudi Arabia's government as a whole.

"I am optimistic that our role in terms of the war in Yemen, the accountability here for Khashoggi's murder and other ways in which the U.S.-Saudi relationship may change will in fact deliver the accountability that I called for," Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said.

We are not yet done with recalibrating the relationship between the United States and the Saudi kingdom," he added.

When asked if the crown prince should face consequences for Khashoggi's murder, Coons responded: “I look forward to having ongoing conversations with the administration about this issue, as the U.S.-Saudi relationship is recalibrated.”

The senator's comments come after Biden stopped short of announcing new sanctions or other punitive measures targeting Saudi Arabia's government after the release of a declassified report on Friday linking Khashoggi's death to the crown prince.

Numerous House and Senate Democrats reacted to the news by calling for Biden to take further steps to punish the crown prince and Saudi Arabia over the murder.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said last week that the crown prince "cannot be allowed to get away with monstrous murder." 

"This new report adds to a mounting pile of evidence that the Crown Prince is culpable for Khashoggi’s killing & cover-up," he added. "A reset in U.S.-Saudi relations and accountability is urgently needed."