Rubio Warns of 'Complete Revolt' on Capitol Hill If Saudi Arabia Responsible for Journalist's Death
Jamal Khashoggi last seen Oct. 2 in Istanbul.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned Thursday there will be a "complete revolt" on Capitol Hill if Saudi Arabia was involved in the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.
The Post reported late Wednesday that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, ordered that Khashoggi, a prominent critic, be lured from his home in the U.S. and detained.
Khashoggi, 59, has not been seen since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials have said that they believe Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered inside the building by members of an elite "assassination squad."
Saudi officials say Khashoggi left through an alternate exit, but have offered no proof to support that contention.
The Post report cited U.S. intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials discussing the plan, as well as interviews with some of Khashoggi's friends. They claimed that senior Saudi officials had approached the journalist with offers of protection -- including a government job in at least one case -- if he would return to his native country.
According to one friend, Khashoggi told him "I don't trust them one bit" after a conversation with one such official.
Earlier Thursday on "Fox & Friends," President Trump said U.S. investigators are working with Turkish authorities and the Saudis to find Khashoggi.
"We're being very tough. ... I have to find out what happened. ... We’re probably getting closer than you might think but I have to find out what happened."
Rubio said on "America's Newsroom" that if evidence of Saudi involvement is found, there will be an effort in Washington, D.C. to "fundamentally alter" the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
"If the Saudi government sent a bunch of people to kill him and chop him up and then they left, if that's what happened, I'm telling you what's gonna happen on Capitol Hill is a complete revolt against our policies with Saudi Arabia,' said Rubio, adding that would be "unfortunate" because the Saudis are important partners when it comes to "containing" Iran's influence.
Rubio is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has called for an investigation into whether Saudi Arabia should face human rights sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
He said all of the facts must be corroborated, but he fears the situation is going to "take a negative turn pretty quickly" if the most recent reports are accurate.
Watch his comments above.