In a letter to President Donald Trump, U.S. Senators Bob Corker and Bob Menendez, chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Tuesday demanded the administration make a determination specifically addressing whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, by triggering a second Global Magnitsky investigation.
Senator Corker also said, "I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia."
Text of the letter is included below.
The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requires the President, upon receipt of a request from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression, and report to the Committee within 120 days with a determination and a decision on the imposition of sanctions on that foreign person or persons.
On October 10, we sent a letter requesting that you make a determination on the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act with “respect to any foreign person responsible” for Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. In light of recent developments, including the Saudi government’s acknowledgement that Saudi officials killed Mr. Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate, we request that your determination specifically address whether Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is responsible for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder. We expect to receive your determination within 120 days of our original request.
In a letter to President Trump last month, Senators Corker, Menendez, and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, triggered an investigation and Global Magnitsky sanctions determination regarding the disappearance of Khashoggi. The first letter did not specifically name the Crown Prince.
Under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, the president, upon receipt of a letter from the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, must make a determination and is authorized to impose sanctions with respect to a foreign person responsible for extrajudicial killings, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights violations against individuals who seek to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote human rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression.