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 CardinDC train system losing 0k per day during government shutdown IRS shutdown plan fails to quell worries GOP senators would support postponing State of the Union 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 RubioOvernight Defense: Second Trump-Kim summit planned for next month | Pelosi accuses Trump of leaking Afghanistan trip plans | Pentagon warns of climate threat to bases | Trump faces pressure to reconsider Syria exit Pressure mounts for Trump to reconsider Syria withdrawal Senate Republicans eye rules change to speed Trump nominees 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 CorkerThe Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel Former US special envoy to anti-ISIS coalition joins Stanford University as lecturer MORE (R-Tenn) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump pitches new plan to reopen government amid Dem pushback Democrats signal they'll reject Trump shutdown proposal Dems revive impeachment talk after latest Cohen bombshell MORE (R-S.C.), a senior member of the Armed Services Committee.  

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Shutdown negotiations continue after White House immigration proposal Rove warns Senate GOP: Don't put only focus on base Ann Coulter blasts Trump shutdown compromise: ‘We voted for Trump and got Jeb!’ 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) MenendezBuzzFeed story has more to say about media than the president More oversight of America’s international media networks a good idea Pro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems 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.