Trump Misses Senate Deadline on Identifying Khashoggi's Killers
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Last November, then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker and ranking undemocratic Dem committee member Robert Menendez addressed the issue of who ordered Jamal Khashoggi's murder.
By letter, they "demanded (Trump) make a determination specifically addressing whether Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman (MBS) is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi…by triggering a…Magnitsky investigation."
The so-called 2012 Sergey Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act normalized US/Russian trade relations with unacceptable strings.
The politicized measure imposed visa bans, asset freezes, and sanctions on Russian nationals accused of committing human rights abuses, including on individuals the US holds responsible for Magnitsky's death - no evidence proving it.
No nation in world history harmed more people over a longer duration than the US - including by war on humanity, smashing one nation after another, mass murdering their people, operating the world's largest gulag, torturing targeted individuals, disappearing them extrajudicially, and showing contempt for the fundamental rights of ordinary people everywhere, at home and abroad.
Who'll sanction the world's main sanctioner, its leading human rights abuser, its greatest menace, acting as a global judge, jury and executioner, operating extrajudicially by its own rules alone.
Corker and Menendez demanded the Trump regime report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee within 120 days, according to Magnitsky Act provisions - "with a determination and a decision on the imposition of sanctions on that foreign person or persons" who ordered Khashoggi's murder.
The letter specifically "address(ed) whether (MBS) is responsible for" what happened.
On February 9, the deadline expired, no action taken, no report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as demanded.
Contempt of Congress is a criminal act. According to the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, the president is exempt from contempt by executive privilege.
According to a White House official on Friday: "Consistent with the previous administration's position and the constitutional separation of powers, the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate."
His "government will continue to consult with Congress and work to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's killing."
His regime sanctioned 17 Saudi individuals, including two top MBS aides, for involvement in Khashoggi's murder - ignoring the CIA's assessment that the crown prince ordered what happened.
Trump maintains that the US/Saudi relationship is too important to jeopardize by acting against MBS - no matter what he did.
In December, a non-binding Senate resolution condemned Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's murder and the kingdom's involvement in Yemen - Washington's war, the resolution failed to explain.
Menendez spokesperson Juan Pachon criticized Trump's position, saying "the law is clear. (It) requires a determination and report in response to the letter we sent with Corker," adding:
"The president has no discretion here. He's either complying with the law or breaking it." House House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Eliot Engel said "(w)ith or without (Trump's) assistance, the Foreign Affairs Committee will push for real accountability for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi."
The double standard is glaring. The vast majority of congressional members consistently authorize funding for US wars of aggression.
They're complicit in high crimes of war and against humanity against one nation after another. Practically the entire Congress supports Israeli apartheid governance, more vicious than the Saudis, at war on Palestinians without declaring it for over 70 years, partnering in US wars of aggression.
Republicans and Dems support color revolutions, old-fashioned coups, and political assassinations - contemptuous of what rule of law is supposed to be all about.
They don't give a hoot about Khashoggi's murder, pretending otherwise. Concern is only over MBS' recklessness and untrustworthiness.
Along with the CIA, they oppose his ascension to the Saudi throne when king Salman passes, wanting someone they can more easily control.
That's what congressional resolutions on Yemen and Magnitsky Act demands on Trump are all about - ignoring the Saudi regime's most heinous high crimes, ongoing for nearly a century, Congress never raising the issue until now.
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