Trump declines to report to Congress on Khashoggi's killing
Iran Press TV
Sat Feb 9, 2019 03:19PM
US President Donald Trump has ignored a deadline by Congress to determine who ordered the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and whether he intends to impose sanctions on Riyadh, prompting an angry backlash on Capitol Hill.
The Trump administration signaled on Friday it was unlikely to meet the congressional deadline, amid new revelations that Saudi Arabia's crown prince and de facto ruler spoke of going after the journalist "with a bullet."
"Consistent with the previous administration's position and the constitutional separation of powers, the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate," a senior Trump administration official said.
"The US Government will continue to consult with Congress and work to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's killing," the US official added.
Under a US law, the president had 120 days to report to Congress about designating and punishing Saudi officials responsible for the murder.
The brutal murder of the journalist was met with widespread global condemnation and ruined the reputation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known in media as "MBS" , who is accused of having ordered the killing.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Saudi crown prince had said a year before Kashoggi's death that he would use "a bullet" on Khashoggi if he did not return home and end his criticism of the government.
Many members of Congress have publicly acknowledged that based on CIA assessments, they remained convinced that the Saudi prince was responsible for Khashoggi's killing.
Members of Congress, including many of Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, have urged a strong response to Khashoggi's murder as well as the Saudi-led war against Yemen, which has led to a humanitarian crisis.
A group of senators from both political parties on Thursday renewed their push to penalize Saudi Arabia, unveiled legislation to bar some arms sales and impose sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi's death.
"The administration's refusal to deal with this issue and keep Congress informed underscores the need to get to the bottom of what is motivating the Trump foreign policy," Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said in a statement.
Trump has publicly said he is not concerned whether the Saudi prince was involved, arguing that the Saudi alliance with the US benefits Washington due to the kingdom's purchases of weapons and its hostility to Iran.
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