Adam Schiff, a Democratic senator who is set to lead the House intelligence committee when the US Congress returns in January, accused President Donald Trump of not telling the truth in his response to Khashoggi’s murder.
Trump said earlier this week that a CIA report lacks evidence to blame Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of the Washington Post columnist.
“I think the president is being dishonest with the American people,” Schiff said during an interview with CNN .
“It would be one thing if he said ‘this is what has happened but nonetheless we need to maintain a relationship with the kingdom, but that is not what he is doing,” Schiff said.
“It telegraphs to despotes around the world they can murder with impunity and that this president will have their back as long as they praise them or do business with him.”
Schiff’s comments were echoed by Mike Lee, a senator from Trump’s Republican party, who called on Congress to take action
Lee said on NBC’s Meet the Press that he disagreed with Trump’s allegations that information from US intelligence services do not implicate Prince Mohammed in the killing.
“I disagree with the president’s assessment. It’s inconsistent with the intelligence I’ve seen,” Lee said during the interview.
“I don’t know why he’s siding with the Saudis, but I think there are things we can do to change our relationship with the Saudis notwithstanding whatever his personal motivations might be,” Lee added.
“But again, I think Congress has to take some ownership of US foreign policy.”
Lee added that he was certain that the next US Congress, which will be inaugurated in January, will look into Trump’s alleged ties to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has admitted Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Khashoggi – a Saudi writer, United States resident and The Washington Post columnist – had entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could remarry.
After weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom eventually acknowledged that its officials were behind the gruesome murder. The whereabouts of his body are still unknown.