Senate Republicans smoke at President Donald Trump for telling lawmakers that he would violate a law requiring Congress to determine who is responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is responsible.
Just the latest example of their deep dissatisfaction with the president's foreign policy. There could be even more deficits in favor of a resolution passed this month before Parliament and the Senate, with the aim of democrats slowing down US support for the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni civil war.
A good way to start the new Congress in its relationship with the Foreign Relations Committee, "said Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican on this panel, in an interview. "It's against the law. And the law is clear about these timelines. I challenge them, and I expect them to comply with the law. "
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, a vulnerable Republican to be re-elected in 2020, said," The government must present the report. "There is no excuse. You have to submit it. "
On Friday, the Trump administration said it had reserved the right to refuse Legislators' request under the Magnitsky Act, which would require the President to report to Congress and determine who was responsible for Khashoggi's death in October in the Saudi Embassy is responsible In Istanbul.
"They should submit a report on Friday, and they have not done so," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). "And the only thing I can say now is that they have a good excuse not to give it out."
"You owe us a report," said Rob Portman (R-Ohio). "We can take care of that."
Last year, then-Secretary of State Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) And his Democratic counterpart Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey used the Magnitsky Act to trigger a 120-day investigation with the Aim to force the administration to determine who is responsible for the killing of Khashoggi and possibly impose sanctions. The appointment on Friday came and went, with a high-ranking official of the administration saying Trump "retains its discretion if he wishes to respond to requests from the Congressional Committee."
After retiring, Corker refused to ignore the government, as did some other Republicans who had endeavored to force a resolution of the administration.
Gardner said the Foreign Affairs Committee should "take action" to force the administration to comply with the law. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), another member of the panel, said lawmakers "want to get more information from the administration than we've received so far. The president must comply with the Magnitsky Act. He did not do that in time.
Despite these demands from the bottom row, the chairman of the committee, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), showed no discomfort with the Friday letter from the administration. He would not commit to further action to enforce compliance with the Magnitsky Act, a clear departure from Corker's time as chairman.
"We asked for the information. They sent it. And I have issued a press release, "Risch told the reporters.  Republican Michael McCaul of Texas, the top Republican of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Parliament, was one of the first Republicans to criticize the Trump administration for its response. He said he was "deeply disturbed" by the government's decision not to comply with Congress's request.
The Democrats said the administration's response contained a concealment and a willing violation of the law. Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo defended the government on Monday and told reporters during a stay in Hungary, "America does not cover murder."
Pompeo's comments did not satisfy the Democrats, however.
"They do not follow the law. … It's just wrong, "said Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), A senior member of the committee. "We will return to the kingdom. There will be laws referring to the kingdom. The fact that they did not respond to Magnitsky will not enable the government to defend its policies.
The Saudi government said Khashoggi's murder was the result of a rogue operation carried out without knowledge by the Higher Kingdoms. However, US intelligence officials have concluded that the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – the de facto ruler of the kingdom – ordered the murder, and the legislator, who had received classified briefings, said the Crown Prince is undoubtedly behind the cruel murder. The New York Times reported last week that US intelligence reports showed that the Crown Prince on Khashoggi had vowed to use a "bullet".
Trump has maintained his position Saudi Arabia even supported the rejection of the kingdom, arguing that arms sales were good for the US economy.
The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudis who are believed to be involved in the killing, but some legislators have urged Trump to impose human rights sanctions on the leaders of Riyadh and sell US arms to the Riyadh To cut off the land.
Menendez and a bipartisan group of senators passed a bill last week requiring sanctions, banning US refueling of Saudi air strikes in the Yemen civil war, and halting some arms sales. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House, is working on an accompanying law, said a counselor.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), chief GOP sponsor of the Menendez Act, appeared to have resigned with the government's inaction and said, "It's up to them. I will move [on the legislation].
On Friday, the day of the Magnitsky deadline, the Saudi Foreign Ministry tweeted what many saw as a threat to the US government over the impending reaction to the killing of Khashoggi. "Our leadership is a red line," the tweet wrote, adding, "We warn against any attempt to link the crime of Khashoggi with our leadership."