Trump, Congress Set for Saudi Arabia Showdown Over Khashoggi Murder

Pompeo denies US is covering up for a murder

After President Trump spurned the Magnitsky Act deadline for reporting to Congress on the Khashoggi murder, Congressional leadership is expecting to advance its own legislation punishing the Saudi government for its role in the murder.

President Trump has already effectively ruled out punishing the Saudis for the murder, saying he didn’t want to risk major arms deals with the kingdom. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) says that the Senate does not need Trump’s permission, and believes sanctions are “the most appropriate step.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that President Trump has been clear about what is going to happen, and that this does not mean they are “covering up for a murder.” He said Trump might hold people responsible if they get additional information.

Yet all indications are that President Trump had no intention of punishing the Saudi Crown Prince, because of the importance of the arms deal. Indeed there is already broad consensus that the prince was behind this murder, and the Trump Administration only feigns uncertainty as a cover for its lack of action.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of