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Saudis give Khashoggi is dead. What are Trump's options?

A government television news program said a Saudi commission under the leadership of the Crown Prince would conduct a one-month investigation. The Bulletin claimed that he had been killed in a "fist fight" with the men who, according to the claims of the Saudis, had come to Turkey to persuade Khashoggi to return to Saudi Arabia.

The kingdom, having completely denied any knowledge of what had happened, the journalist for more than two weeks, expressed "deep regret". They did not provide information about what happened to Khashoggi's body. Turkish officials told CNN he was dismembered.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the US "confessed the announcement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and will "closely follow international investigations into this tragic incident."

The Crown Prince spoke with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the announcement on Friday, a senior administration official said.

Prior to the Saudi announcement, Trump hinted that he was ready to act and told reporters Friday he wanted to include Congress in a US reaction. He also hinted that the US is investigating the disappearance of journalist Washington Post on October 2 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

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"We're investigating now, we have a lot of people working on it and we have other countries working on it," Trump told reporters in Arizona. "It's something we do not like, it's very serious stuff and we'll get to the bottom of it."

"I'll have a lot of Congress to decide what to do," he added.

Trump said that the consequences for Khashoggi's alleged murder must be "very severe," but he faces a dilemma. He must balance a valuable alliance against a potentially heinous crime ̵
1; as well as outraged lawmakers calling for action.

And there will probably be doubts about the official line of the Saudis. Shortly after their announcement, Aaron asked David Miller, a vice president of the bipartisan Wilson Center, on Twitter, if it was "a royal whitewash"

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted: "To say I'm skeptical Saudi tale of Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement. "

" Will this be enough to buy a Trump government that is already inclined to give the Saudis the benefit of doubt? "asked Miller. And he has noticed that the Crown Prince has been blamed for the investigation. "Fox has a key to the chicken coop," added Miller.

Trump needs Saudi Arabia for its foreign policy priorities. But possible financial ties between the Trump family and Saudi Arabia complicate the picture and raise questions about the president's willingness to fight hard against Riyadh.

It is likely, Miller and other foreign policy analysts said, that the White House will seek to strike a balance between public punishment and an understanding that the relationship will continue at the end of the day.

They are trying to reconcile two incompatibilities, "said Miller, vice president of the bipartisan Wilson Center." They need to maintain the relationship to this horrific act. "The path to the synthesis of these two incompatibilities, according to Miller," consists in one negotiated punishment, a series of assessments that these will be the actions of the United States, but we all understand that the relationship will continue. "

" You would say, "you will have to live with it and At the end of the road, assuming there are no more violations, we can get back to business, "Miller said.

Trump's theory The arsenal of answers ranges from diplomatic action to economic punishment, but some options are already available Table.

Often a country will show its displeasure in a diplomatic dispute by calling its ambassador to ckruft or declared the ambassador of a country as "PNG" or "persona non grata" – which means that they are no longer welcome.

But the Trump government has not nominated anyone for the US ambassador to Riyadh. Shortly after the suspicion of Khashoggi's disappearance intensified, Saudi Arabia called his ambassador to the United States – a son of King Salman and brother of the Crown Prince.

Closure of diplomatic posts

Another possibility would be to close down Saudi consulates or other diplomatic outposts or reduce their diplomatic personnel in the United States, just as the US is doing with Russia in 2017 because of the consequences of the US Moscow Election Intervention did and in 2018 to express its anger over Russia's poisoning of a former Russian spy on British soil.

"These are all options if you really wanted to punish them," said Gerald Feierstein, a former US Ambassador to Yemen, now a director at the Middle East Institute. Feierstein points to other areas where the US could break off cooperation, such as the temporary suspension of cooperation with Saudi intelligence services, "although this is a double-edged sword," said the US wins and provides information.

"We could also say we will freeze contacts with the Home Office or any security agencies involved in Khashoggi's apparent death," Feierstein said. This could include "some of the special security organizations founded by Mohammed bin Salman", where some members of the 15-member group of men suspected of traveling to Istanbul to kill Khashoggi seem to be working.

  Saudis discussed plan to lure Jamal Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia to show US incidents

Trump could also come to sanctions.

Legislature is trying to force this through a law called the Global Magnitsky Act to launch an investigation that could lead to human rights violations. The law obliges the president to act within 120 days and gives him legal authority, but he does not require him to travel and freezes the assets of a human rights violator in any country.

Like Miller, Feierstein sees the administration try to fine-tune the punishment.

"My best guess is that they'll probably try to limit the scope of the answer," he said. "I think they would probably use Magnitsky to sanction and look for people, but I suspect that could be anything they do and give a satisfying answer and hope they can continue the relationship."

Pressure from legislators

Legislators could demand more.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, told CNN Friday that the Saudi regime is a "criminal enterprise" and that "everything we've heard so far is not the truth of the Saudis, they just lie."

He suggested The US could "save some of its banking, its visas, we certainly have the ability to block arms sales," crucial to Saudi Arabia's ongoing war in Yemen. "We should have done that after lied to us about the civilian casualties in Yemen," Leahy added. Others have suggested stopping the refueling of Saudi planes bombing Yemen.

James Carafano, director of the Heritage Foundation, says that it's best to stop discussing possible punishments and punishments, keeping things quiet, and leaving things to investigators.

"The wisest course of action for the US should be to focus on the investigation," said Carafano. "They should have sent the FBI director, not the foreign minister, to Turkey and Saudi Arabia," he added, referring to a trip Pompeo had made earlier this week.

"The strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia and Turkey is too important to risk what we could do if we did not know it," said Carafano. "Speculation is not another US policy … it's totally inappropriate, and the other reason to focus on an investigation is that Congress can respond."

Trump hinted that he wanted Congress to find an answer Friday when he continued to signal his misfortune.

"Saudi Arabia is a great ally of us, so it's so sad," said Trump. The President and his administrators have repeatedly stressed the importance of American-Saudi relations.

The White House relies on Saudi Arabia's financial support for the reconstruction of Syria, the fight against ISIS and a Middle East peace plan.

Crucially, the White House needs Saudi Arabia to keep international oil markets stable They confront Iran and introduce new energy sanctions against countries that buy Iranian oil from 4 November.

Pompeo said on Friday in Mexico with Voice of America that the government would "consider a wide range of potential answers, but consider it important to do that the facts come out."

CNNs Hamdi Alkshhali, Natalie Gallon, Kevin Liptak and Elise Labott reported on the coverage.

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