Nov 21, 2018

What they're saying: Congress denounces Trump's inaction on Saudi Arabia

Lindsey Graham. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Republican and Democratic members of Congress are denouncing President Trump's Tuesday statement saying the U.S. will stand by Saudi Arabia, despite the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the CIA's reported conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the assassination.

The bottom line ... Even Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), one of Trump's most reliable Senate supporters, rebuked his response, comparing him to former President Obama: "One thing I learned during the Obama years is that when you look the other way regarding problems in the Middle East, it seldom works out. ... Likewise, it is not in our national security interests to look the other way when it comes to the brutal murder of Mr. Jamal #Khashoggi ... I fully realize we have to deal with bad actors and imperfect situations on the international stage. However, when we lose our moral voice, we lose our strongest asset."

What they're saying:

Republicans:

  • Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.): "I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
  • Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.): "'Great allies' don’t plot the murder of journalists, Mr. President. 'Great allies' don’t lure their own citizens into a trap, then kill them."
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.): "Our foreign policy must be about promoting our national interests. It is in our natl interest to defend human rights. HR violations lead to mass migration, help extremism flourish & often result in new governments hostile towards the U.S. because we supported their oppressors."
  • Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.): "This is an utterly absurd, irresponsible, and repugnant statement from @POTUS. No amount of money justifies the betrayal of our principles and values as Americans."

Democrats:

  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.): "I’m shocked that President Trump said there will be no punishment for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. ... I plan to vote against any future arms sales and appropriation to Saudi Arabia. I also believe that the United States should consider sanctions against the crown prince and that the Saudi ambassador to the United States should not be allowed to continue in that role."
  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.): "It’s hard to imagine that the Saudis would have taken this action under a Reagan, Bush, Clinton or Obama Administration without facing serious repercussions.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): "To say 'maybe he did and maybe he didn’t,' or that we are incapable of finding out the truth, or that knowing the truth our silence can be bought with arms sales, undermines the Presidency, credibility of our intelligence professionals, and our role as a champion of human rights."

Others:

  • Former CIA Director John Brennan: “Since Mr. Trump excels in dishonesty, it is now up to members of Congress to obtain & declassify the CIA findings on Jamal Khashoggi’s death. No one in Saudi Arabia — most especially the Crown Prince — should escape accountability for such a heinous act.”

Go deeper

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: The Army moved 1,600 soldiers from out of state into D.C. area, the Defense Department confirmed in a statement Tuesday. Protesters were still out en masse for mostly after curfews began in cities including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.