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Democrats ask if U.S. intelligence was aware of plot against Saudi journalist

October 12, 2018

Democrats demanded Friday that the Trump administration tell whatever it may have known about the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post journalist who was reportedly lured to a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey then murdered by Saudi agents.

President Trump has said he wants to get to the bottom of what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, and many members of Congress have threatened serious retaliation against the Saudi government should it be found to have orchestrated a murder.

But several Democrats hinted Friday that they believe the U.S. government may have been aware of Saudi plans ahead of time.

Reps. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin and Ro Khanna of California are asking colleagues to sign onto a letter demanding the U.S. intelligence community reveal whether it learned of the plans and whether it warned Mr. Khashoggi.

“Considering the profound ramifications of this potential crime, U.S. foreknowledge of Saudi plans to detain Mr. Khashoggi, and whether the U.S. intelligence community carried out its duty to warn, we intend to use the full force of congressional oversight and investigatory powers to obtain these answers should they not be forthcoming,” the lawmakers say in a draft of their letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say U.S. military cooperation with the Saudi government could be canceled.

Mr. Khashoggi is a Saudi national, though he is a U.S. resident.

Mr. Trump said Friday afternoon that he’s interested in getting the details of what happened to Mr. Khashoggi, and said he’ll be calling King Salman.

“We’re going to find out what happened with respect to the terrible situation in Turkey having to do with Saudi Arabia and the reporter,” the president told reporters.

“Nobody knows quite yet, nobody’s been able to put it all together. People are starting to form ideas and as they’re formed, we’ll let you know but it’s certainly a terrible thing,” he said.

He also hinted he may ask Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to forgo his finance meeting in Saudi Arabia later this month.

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