Lawmakers have been briefed multiple times on Khashoggi’s murder, but the Trump administration has yet to publicly acknowledge what senators from both parties said was clear to them from the briefings: that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing and was kept apprised of the government-led operation to murder and dismember Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen and legal U.S. resident who was highly critical of the regime.
The bipartisan effort to pry details from the Trump administration underscores the ongoing tensions between Congress and the White House over the U.S.’s posture toward Saudi Arabia. President Donald Trump has buttressed the Saudi crown prince’s denials of involvement in the murder, and the administration as a whole has resisted bipartisan pressure to sanction the Saudi government and cut off U.S. weapons sales to the kingdom.
The Post first reported on the joint letter from Burr and Warner.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-N.J.), who authored the Khashoggi provision in the defense bill, held a news conference on Tuesday to bring further attention to the issue. Wyden plans to force a release of the intelligence community’s assessment of Khashoggi’s killing, using a procedural motion through the original Senate resolution that created the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“This was a total and complete cover-up,” Wyden said in announcing his plans. “I’m doing it because the law left no ambiguity. The law was very specific about what needs to be public.”
Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to assert that it has delivered justice for Khashoggi’s murder, pointing to U.S. sanctions on more than a dozen Saudi citizens believed to have been involved in the killing.