WASHINGTON, DC – Today, after President Trump sought to let Saudi leadership off the hook for the calculated, cold-blooded murder of U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:

“This White House statement is a stunning window into President Trump’s autocratic tendencies, his limited grasp of world affairs, and his weakness on the world stage.  It is shocking to see President Trump continue to act as an accomplice to a clear cover up by Saudi leadership.

“President Trump’s unwillingness to stand up to Saudi Arabia for the cold-blooded murder of a U.S. resident and Washington Post columnist is feckless.  That’s not ‘America First.’  His allusion to an over-inflated figure for potential Saudi investment in the U.S. signals that President Trump is willing to look the other way if the price is right.

“The truth does not always come easily to President Trump.  He has shown a disturbing willingness to take the word of Vladimir Putin or the Saudi Crown Prince over U.S. intelligence professionals.

“President Trump admits: “it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”  Saudi Arabia cannot be trusted to conduct a credible investigation and hold responsible parties accountable consistent with internationally-accepted standards.  Instead, we should demand that an independent international investigation be convened to determine just how high the Saudi cover up goes. 

“The U.S. Senate should also immediately take up and pass the bipartisan Saudi Arabia Accountability and Yemen Act of 2018, comprehensive legislation to ensure effective Congressional oversight of U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia and Yemen, and demand meaningful accountability for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

“The United States stands for human rights and the rule of law.  President Trump’s abdication of leadership on these bedrock American values will have consequences.”