Trump fails to point finger over Khashoggi

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-47182567

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, Turkey, 6 May 2018Image copyright
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Jamal Khashoggi had gone to Istanbul to obtain a marriage document

The Trump administration has refused to respond to a request from Congress to provide a report determining who killed the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Senators wrote in October demanding the murder be investigated and that the White House give more information.

An administration official said the president was within his rights to decline to act.

Khashoggi was killed after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

He was a strong critic of the Saudi government. His body was reportedly dismembered and has still not been found.

US intelligence officials have reportedly said such an operation would have needed the approval of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

And on Saturday Baroness Helena Kennedy, member of a UN team of international experts who visited Turkey to investigate the murder, told the BBC the murder was planned at the highest level.

But Saudi officials insist he was murdered by a “rogue” team of Saudi agents not acting on the prince’s orders.

An administration statement said Mr Trump “maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate”.

However, Democratic senators told the New York Times the president was in breach of the so-called Magnitsky Act, which requires a response within 120 days to requests from Senate committee leaders. That deadline passed on Friday.

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How the story unfolded



Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has written to Senate leaders describing actions taken against individuals.

However, the documents do not indicate who was responsible for Khashoggi’s death, as demanded by the senators.

The US has imposed sanctions on 17 Saudi officials, including Saud al-Qahtani, a former adviser to the crown prince who, it alleged, was “part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Khashoggi’s murder.

But Mr Trump has faced criticism from senators for failing to condemn the crown prince directly.

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