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Hatice Cengiz speaks during an exclusive interview in the U.S. on May 18, 2019. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) announced Monday that he's taking researcher Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as his guest to this week's State of the Union.

Driving the news: It's an attempt to press President Trump to step up action against Saudi Arabia for its role in his death. A CIA report concluded in November 2018 that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi's killing. The prince denies doing so.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

The big picture: Connolly, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has introduced the Protection of Saudi Dissidents Act to hold the country accountable for Khashoggi's murder. It would prohibit arms sales to Saudi security services for 120 days and every 120 days thereafter until the country meets certain human rights conditions.

  • The legislation would require a report on whether Saudi authorities engaged in intimidation or harassment of Khashoggi or any individual in the U.S. and for the intelligence community to report on whether it fulfilled its duty to warn the journalist of an impending threat against him. 
  • A State Department official noted the Trump administration has taken several actions in response to Khashoggi's murder, including last April, when 16 Saudi nationals were banned from entering the U.S.
  • In November 2018, the Treasury Department, in consultation with the Departments of State and Justice, imposed sanctions on 17 people and in October 2018, the visa restrictions were announced for 21 people connected to the killing.

What they're saying: "Hatice's courage to sit in the House Chamber Tuesday night should serve as a clarion call to the President that no matter how high it goes, Saudi Arabia must be held accountable for the murder of this loving father and fiancé, respected journalist, U.S. resident, my constituent, and reformer," Connolly said. "Congress has acted. Now too must the President."

  • A State Department official said in a statement to Axios that its officials were continuing to track the judicial process in Riyadh regarding the murder of Khashoggi, which the official called a "heinous, unacceptable crime."
  • "It is crucial that the Saudi government hold accountable those responsible for the murder," the official said. "We have spoken out publicly about many of our concerns, and continue to do so in our private diplomatic engagement as well."

Go deeper: UN report says Khashoggi killing was "deliberate, premeditated execution"

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from the State Department.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes mix-and-match for COVID booster shots

Photo: Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on Wednesday gave its approval for Americans to get booster shots that are different from the COVID vaccine they initially received.

Why it matters: The recommendation from the FDA, which also authorized booster shots for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines on Wednesday, paves the way for an expansion of booster shots.

GOP congressman forfeits committee seats after indictment

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) on Wednesday stepped down from his committee assignments after being indicted for lying to federal investigators amid a probe into illegal campaign donations.

What they're saying: In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Fortenberry said he is "grateful for the outpouring of support from my friends and colleagues as we work against the injustice confronting me."

Rahm Emanuel questioned on murder of Laquan McDonald in confirmation hearing

Rahm Emanuel during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Oct. 20. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke about the murder of Laquan McDonald during his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday to become the U.S. ambassador to Japan, saying that "there's not a day or a week that has gone by in the last seven years I haven't thought about this."

Catch up quick: McDonald was a Black teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago police during Emanuel's tenure as the city's mayor. The 2014 shooting triggered massive protests, both because of its nature and the fact that the officers' body-cam footage was concealed for years.