Trump reluctant to punish Saudis over reporter

In response to the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, President Trump signaled he was not interested in taking steps to punish Saudi Arabia.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 6:44 AM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 6:47 AM

President Donald Trump said Thursday he wants to move forward with major arms deals with Saudi Arabia, but senators from both parties are warning that Congress may block these accords from going forward.

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced in June he would place a hold on a proposed arms sale on thousands of precision-guided munition kits that would be used by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. On Thursday, Menendez warned he would not back off in light of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Right now, it's not moving forward because I've stopped it through our procedures," he told reporters in the Capitol. "If I were to clear it and it were to move to the floor, I think there's a growing sense that there has to be a message to the Saudis."

Menendez's hold is significant because the chair and ranking members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and House Foreign Affairs Committee have the power to derail foreign arms sales under the congressional notification process. One of the four members can place a hold on an arms sale and effectively extend a 40-day informal review process the administration affords to Congress.

If Menendez were to lift his hold, then a 30-day formal review process begins when any member can file a resolution of disapproval to seek to block the arms sale. Congress would then vote on the resolution of disapproval. And with tensions high with Saudi Arabia, members from both parties say that any arms deal with the Saudis almost certainly would be rejected by Congress.

"There's been a hold for a long time," Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, of Tennessee, told CNN. "I told the defense contractor who was in my office a few weeks ago don't even attempt to make this happen right now because it will get voted down. Now with (the disappearance of Khashoggi), obviously that's the case."

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, of Texas, said "it's premature" to say whether Congress would move to block arm sales to the Saudis, saying "we just need to make sure we know what the facts are before deciding how to act."

Trump has indicated that Saudi Arabia is likely behind Khashoggi's disappearance, but signaled Wednesday that he is reluctant to take action, particularly on the issue of arms sales.

"That would be hurting us," Trump told Fox News when asked about the option of blocking the sale of weapons.

"We have jobs," Trump said on Fox News. "We have a lot of things happening in this country. We have a country that's doing probably better economically than it's ever done before. Part of that is what we are doing with our defense systems and everybody is wanting them, and frankly, I think that would be a very, very tough pill to swallow for our country."

In May, Trump announced in Riyadh an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $110 billion.

The agreement was negotiated by the President's son in law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, whose closeness to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been scrutinized in the wake of Khashoggi's disappearance.

While the overall deal was worth $110 billion, specific arms deals like the munitions package currency being held up by Congress have been finalized in much smaller agreements.

Last year, the Senate narrowly voted to support a $510 million sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, defeating a resolution to block the sale in a 47-to-53 vote.

West Lafayette
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 67°
Kokomo
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 58°
Rensselaer
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 59°
Fowler
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 59°
Williamsport
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 64°
Crawfordsville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 61°
Frankfort
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 73° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 65°
Monticello
Clear
65° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 65°
Logansport
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 61°
Remaining Dry and Trending Warmer for the Upcoming Work Week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events