WASHINGTON — In what they hope will be a dramatic show of force against the Trump administration, members of the U.S. Senate from both sides of the aisle are set to introduce a resolution holding Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman exclusively responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Nonbinding resolution holds MBS responsible for Khashoggi, humanitarian crisis in Yemen
- White House continues to downplay Crown Prince involvement
- Senate bracing for chaotic floor fight next week
“The idea that they would be able to fly in and do this without him knowing about it and being OK with it is just not believable," said Sen. Marco Rubio. R-Florida.
To Rubio, the evidence is crystal clear: Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman is behind the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And Rubio's not alone in that opinion.
"There can't be a cover-up when everybody knows what the truth is," said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. "I mean, everybody knows that this was a personal hit squad, a personal rendition squad for Mohammed Bin Salman."
A bipartisan group of senators are introducing the nonbinding resolution, which state that the Saudi Crown Prince should be held responsible not only for Khashoggi’s death, but also for Yemen’s humanitarian crisis, for the blockade of Qatar and the imprisonment of political dissidents.
“[Mohammed Bin Salman's] going to continue to test the limits of this relationship," Rubio said. "We better set it now or it’s going to get worse."
White House continues to downplay evidence
The fury on Capitol Hill stands in stark contrast with the White House.
“I don’t know if anyone will be able to conclude that the Crown Prince did it," President Trump said to reporters a few weeks ago.
The Senate is bracing for a chaotic floor fight next week. Lawmakers are considering this resolution, a bill to suspend arms sales to the kingdom, and a resolution to curtail U.S. involvement for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which passed overwhelmingly out of committee.
“Only a strong response by the United States will send a clear and unequivocal message that such actions are not acceptable in the world's stage," said Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey.
“The fact that it is an important alliance that we have with Saudi Arabia, but it must have limits, all alliances have to have a limit," Rubio said.
It will all come down to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who ultimately will decide if any of these bills make it to the floor for a full Senate vote.