Supporters of bilateral legislation designed to severely punish Saudi Arabia for the role of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman,…
Supporters of bilateral legislation designed to severely punish Saudi Arabia for the role of the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, allegedly playing in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, says they believe they have secured enough votes for the final pass.
While the action, sponsored by Sens Mike Lee, R-Utah, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. And Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Does not name Khashoggi, it urges the administration to end US military support for the Saudi-Arab coalition fighting a war in Yemen. Because of nature
of the legislation, a resolution on military forces that are difficult to change, those who want to explicitly punish MBS ̵
Supporters of the resolution said Thursday that they are convinced they have voices for passage, although Parliament is not expected to raise this meeting.
“There is no time left this year, but we will see if we can all rally around Menendez and Young and then grow support for the action to the point where you have a veto-proof majority, “said Graham, who predicted Administration pushback. “If nothing else, if we could only roll out a product that could get 60 fellow sponsors, it would be a good place to start … It’s a product that will be your jumping off point for next year.”
Graham said he wanted to make two statements in all the legislative flow around Saudi Arabia. “The MBS is complicated (in Khashoggi killing) and a defense ball and that we should do something about it – and this means ceasing arms sales and support for
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Said he works with the group to amend the legislation in a way that can be supported. The departing chairman said he also works with leadership to produce a more symbolic measure that would condemn the killing of Khashoggi, although the extent it would mention the Crown Prince, known by his initial MBS, was not yet clear.
A large number of senators on both sides of the time have rejected the administration’s handling of the Khashoggi killings. The president has said he is not sure that the MBS killed Khashoggi and his secretary for defense and state last week that there is no definitive evidence that the Saudi Crown Prince should blame.
Still senators on both sides of the time, after a closed door CIA briefing this week by director Gina Haspel, said they had no doubts.
“I have no question in my mind that the Crown Prince’s MBS ordered the killing, supervised the killing, knew exactly what had happened. Planned it in advance. If he was in charge of a jury he would be sentenced in 30 minutes. Criminal, Corker said.
“There is no smoke gun, there is a smoke seen,” Graham said, referring to how the reporter believed to have been murdered.
“You have to be careful blind to not conclude that this was orchestrated and organized by people led by MBS and that he was intricately involved in the closure of Mr. Khashoggi,” said Graham. “There is a consensus among many of us like us
want to stop arms sales and stop supporting the war – how are you doing best? We’ll see.”
On Thursday, defense secretary James Mattis appeared to leave the door open to the Khashoggi killings and told reporters on the way to a meeting in defeat ISIS in Ottawa. “We continue to review. I am quite satisfied, we find more evidence of what
happened. I just do not know what it will be or who will be implicated, but we will follow it as far as we can. “
ABC News & Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.