Monday, Oct 21

Trump ignores Senate deadline on Khashoggi killing

Refusal to meet legal mandate draws swift rebuke from the key senator, whose spokesman insists president must respond.
09.02.2019 - 13:41

US President Donald Trump will not respond to a legally-required Senate request to determine whether sanctions are warranted against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a senior administration official said Friday.

"THE PRESIDENT HAS NO DISCRETION HERE"

The president has until midnight to formally respond to a letter from former Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and Ranking Member Bob Menendez which asked Trump to make the determination under the Global Magnitsky Act within 120 days.

Juan Pachon, a Menendez spokesman, was unwavering, insisting that the deadline is not up for debate. "The law is clear," Pachon said in a statement emailed to Anadolu Agency. "The President has no discretion here. He’s either complying with the law or breaking it.”

The administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, however, told Anadolu Agency that Trump "maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate".

"The State Department updates Congress regularly on the status of actions related to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi," the official added, pointing to actions the administration took to pull the visas of 21 Saudis and sanction another 17 accused of being tied to his murder.

GLOBAL MAGNITSKY ACT

But those actions have been called insufficient by many in Congress who insist the journalist's slaying could not have been carried out without bin Salman's explicit approval.

Under the Global Magnitsky Act, a president has 120 days to respond to a request from the Senate Foreign Relations chair and ranking member to determine if sanctions are warranted against a person who has been accused of rights violations.