Trump says no penalty for Saudi prince for Khashoggi murder

<p>President Donald Trump declared Tuesday he would not further punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi.</p>

News 12 Staff

Nov 21, 2018, 12:05 AM

Updated 2,014 days ago

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President Donald Trump declared Tuesday he would not further punish Saudi Arabia for the murder of U.S.-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi - making clear in an exclamation-filled statement that the benefits of good relations with the kingdom outweigh the possibility its crown prince ordered the killing.
The president condemned the brutal slaying of Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as a "horrible crime ... that our country does not condone." But he rejected calls by many in Congress, including members of his own party, for a tougher response, and also dismissed reports from U.S. intelligence agencies that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must have at least known about such an audacious and intricate plot.
"It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event," the president said. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"
In many ways, the statement captured Trump's view of the world and foreign policy, grounded in economic necessity. It began with the words "America First!" followed by "The world is a very dangerous place!"
It came after weeks of debate over whether the president would or should come down hard on the Saudis and the crown prince in response to the killing of the Saudi columnist for The Washington Post who had criticized the royal family.
The U.S. earlier sanctioned 17 Saudi officials suspected of being responsible for or complicit in the Oct. 2 killing, but members of Congress have called for harsher actions, including canceling arms sales.
Long Island’s congregational delegation disagreed with Trump’s decision, except Rep. Lee Zeldin:
Rep Peter King (R-Seaford) - “You can't allow this type of brutal murder to be carried out without repercussions, or without acknowledging who did it. It just hurts our position in the world.”
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) - “The president has to balance the need to maintain a strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia when it comes to Iran, Israel and the region in general, while also sending a clear message that murdering and dismembering journalists, because they question your leadership, is simply unacceptable and there will be consequences."
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) - "Once again, the president of the United States is taking the word of an autocrat over the findings of his own intelligence community. Our job as a country must be to stand up to human rights abusers, not embolden them. We must remain true to our nation's values and hold all responsible parties accountable." 
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) - "I look forward to the opportunity to review the findings of our nation's intelligence agencies - the best in the world - and work with my Congressional colleagues to consider appropriate additional sanctions beyond those already imposed under the Magnitsky Act."
AP Wire Services were used in this report


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