Monday, 10 December, 2018

US Senators pile pressure on Trump over Khashoggi disappearance

Khashoggi case should not be politicized, says UN expert Report: U.S. Knew of Saudi Plan to Capture WaPo Columnist, Failed to Stop It
Herman Weaver | 11 October, 2018, 21:56

Corker also said that the administration was not given a heads up about the letter prior to its release to reporters, adding that he was unsure about how Trump might respond given his close relationship with the Saudi crown prince.

"Would be nice to definitively rule out that the Saudis are paying the president massive bribes in exchange for tacit approval for murdering critics!"

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Thursday that the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was extremely troubling and went against the spirit of the reforms advocated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Khashoggi vanished after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2.

Turkish officials believed that 59-year-old Khashoggi, also a Washington Post contributor, was murdered inside the consulate.

The letter sent to Trump by the bipartisan group of senators increases the pressure on the administration to act.

A source told the Post that prior to Khashoggi going missing, USA intelligence intercepted Saudi officials' communications, which revealed a plan to capture Khashoggi and get him to Saudi Arabia.

"It's a very sad situation, it's a very bad situation and we want to get to the bottom of it", said the president. At the same time whether its steps they've taken in the region, this in particular., we need to push back on activities like this if they have occurred.

"I know the Saudi government have issued a very strong denial, but the thing has to be properly investigated and explained", Blair said. Saudi Arabia's de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, has done so many times.

On Monday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan urged the Saudi Consulate to prove whether or not Khashoggi exited the building after entering, saying the consulate officials "can't get away with (simply) saying "he left the building".

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When asked by reporters on Monday about the disappearance on Monday, Trump said, "I am concerned about it". Erdogan said he would wait for the outcome of the current investigation before taking a decision.


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The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that before Khashoggi disappeared, USA intelligence had intercepted communications in which the Saudis had been discussing a plot to abduct him.

It said that the circumstances around Khashoggi's disappearance "suggests that he could be a victim of a gross violation of internationally-recognised human rights", including torture or killing.

Erdogan, whose AK Party is rooted in political Islam, also supported a government in Egypt led by the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia has designated a terrorist movement. "I've told them they have to pay for their military".

The Saudi government asserted that Khashoggi left the premises shortly after his visit.

Social media sleuths identified another man from the squad as a senior crimes scene investigator in Saudi Arabia.

Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to Trump demanding that the USA impose sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act on any "foreign person responsible for such a violation related to Mr. Khashoggi".

Trump, speaking to reporters Wednesday in the Oval Office, said he had spoken "more than once" with Saudi officials in recent days but didn't provide details of the conversations. He also said the USA was working "very closely" with Turkey, "and I think we'll get to the bottom of it". According to the images, a vehicle that went inside the consulate was then driven to the consul-general's residence nearby, around two hours after Mr Khashoggi had gone in.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo then had a follow-up call with the crown prince to reiterate the U.S. request for information and a thorough, transparent investigation.

Pro-government Turkish media published the names and photographs of 15 Saudi men who allegedly made a mysterious one-day trip to Istanbul on private jets on the day that Mr Khashoggi vanished at the Saudi consulate.

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