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 CardinOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Senate Dem: Trump 'using immigrants as pawns' Bottom Line 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 RubioSenate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Cuban negotiator says Trump's efforts to destabilize Cuba's government will fail Freedom to Compete Act would benefit many American workers 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 CorkerPollster says Trump unlikely to face 'significant' primary challenge GOP gets used to saying 'no' to Trump Democrats introduce bill to rein in Trump on tariffs MORE (R-Tenn) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars DOJ: Dem subpoena for Mueller report is 'premature and unnecessary' Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions MORE (R-S.C.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee.  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone 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) MenendezWe can accelerate a cure for Alzheimer's The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange 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.