Dem Senator: Congress will act on death of Saudi journalist

Dem Senator: Congress will act on death of Saudi journalist
© Anna Moneymaker

Sen. Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems Cardin wins reelection in Maryland Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide MORE (Md.), a senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday said Congress would take action in response to the disappearance and death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“There’s going to be consequences and we’re going to take action. We’re an independent branch of government. We’ve shown that before with our relationship with Russia, we’ve shown it with North Korea and we’ll show it here with Saudi Arabia,” Cardin told CNN.  

“What we want the president to do is not only take action, we want his language to be very clear that America will not tolerate this type of behavior,” Cardin added. 

 Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillary advisers battle over whether she’ll run in 2020 Rubio defends '3 point kick' analogy: 'You think everyone who follows politics knows what a field goal is?' Lawmakers to introduce bipartisan bill targeting China's treatment of Muslims MORE (R-Fla.), another member of the Foreign Relations panel, said Tuesday that lawmakers would act

“I can tell you that a separate branch of government that I belong to, the Senate, the Congress, I believe will act in a bipartisan way and this is going to alter the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia for the foreseeable future,” Rubio told CNN in an earlier interview. 

Cardin and Rubio have recently discussed possible action with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerCIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Khashoggi murder: report  McConnell, Flake clash over protecting Mueller probe Overnight Defense — Presented by Raytheon — Border deployment 'peaked' at 5,800 troops | Trump sanctions 17 Saudis over Khashoggi killing | Senators offer bill to press Trump on Saudis | Paul effort to block Bahrain arms sale fails MORE (R-Tenn) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamOn The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report Cotton opposes Trump-backed criminal justice bill Lawmakers say California will eventually get emergency funding for fire relief MORE (R-S.C.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee.  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMia Love pulls ahead in Utah race as judge dismisses her lawsuit Trump administration denies exploring extradition of Erdoğan foe for Turkey Trump congratulates Kemp, says Abrams will have 'terrific political future' MORE over the weekend vowed there would be “severe punishment” if the Saudi government was found to be responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

But Trump later defended a $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems Trump lowers refugee goal to 30,000, he must meet it Blame Senate, not FBI, for Kavanaugh travesty MORE (D-N.J.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations panel, has put on hold. 

Cardin faulted Trump for not condemning violations of human rights by foreign leaders with whom he’s negotiating. 

"The United States acts first by the language the president uses to uphold our basic principles and President Trump has not done that," he said. 

Trump told reporters Monday morning that Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud “firmly denied any knowledge” of what happened to Khashoggi. 

He also suggested that the 15 Saudi agents who entered Turkey when Khashoggi disappeared after entering the Saudi consulate in Turkey may have been rogue operators.

 “It sounded to me like maybe these could have been rogue killers,” the president said. “Who knows? We’re going to try getting to the bottom of it very soon. But his was a flat denial.”

The president’s comments were reminiscent of remarks he made earlier this year at a summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, when Trump gave Putin’s denial of interference in the 2016 election equal weight with U.S. intelligence findings that Russia meddled. 

Saudi officials later said, however, that they are preparing to admit Khashoggi died at their consulate during a botched interrogation.