The Latest: Senators trigger probe into missing Saudi writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. and the missing Saudi writer Turkish authorities say was slain inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul (all times local):
Top U.S. senators are triggering an investigation into the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist that will require President Donald Trump to consider possible sanctions on officials in Saudi Arabia.
Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and top Democrat Bob Menendez triggered the probe Wednesday under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Trump will be required to give a report to Congress within 120 days.
The senators said in a letter that Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance suggests “a gross violation of internationally recognized human rights.” More than a dozen Republican and Democratic senators signed it.
The Saudi journalist critical of the kingdom disappeared last week after visiting the country’s consulate in Turkey.
Turkish authorities have said he was killed by an elite Saudi “assassination squad.” The Saudi government has dismissed that allegation.
Sen. Bob Corker says he has reviewed U.S. intelligence reports on the disappearance of a prominent Saudi journalist and critic and “everything” points to involvement by the government of Saudi Arabia.
Corker tells The Associated Press that information he has reviewed suggests that Jamal Khashoggi was killed on Oct. 2, the day he went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Tennessee Republican, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says he has also spoken with the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
Corker says he was told that closed-circuit TV from the consulate was live only and did not record. The senator called that statement “not credible” and he said it’s now up to the Saudi government to clarify the situation.
Corker says, “the Saudis have a lot of explaining to do because all indications are that they have been involved at minimum with his disappearance.” Corker said “everything points to them.”
Turkish claims that a well-known Saudi writer and government critic was slain inside his country’s diplomatic mission in Turkey have put the Trump administration in a delicate spot.
Members of Congress have grown increasingly insistent in recent days that the administration get to the bottom of the disappearance of the writer for The Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi. He had apparently drawn the wrath of the Saudi government, which has become an ever-closer U.S. ally under President Donald Trump.
Angry lawmakers likely won’t prompt the administration to turn away from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. But they could throw a wrench into arms sales that require their approval and demand the U.S. scale back support for the Saudi military campaign against Iran-backed rebels in Yemen.