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Chairman Risch and SFRC Members Send Letter to Pompeo, Request Information on Khashoggi Murder

Washington, DC — U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed by U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ron Johnson (R-MN), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Rob Portman (R-OH), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) requesting more information on Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

“I am glad to lead this effort to pursue more information, which continues to become available regarding the Khashoggi murder," said Chairman Risch. "I have been in contact with the State Department, the White House, and the Intelligence agencies regularly since the murder, and I continue to track and analyze the information from those sources. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is committed to pursuing all information available in its oversight role and, to that end, is in the process of arranging a classified briefing for the committee.”

Full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Mike Pompeo
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary: 

We are writing to follow up on the Committee letter of October 10, 2018 to the President requesting a determination on the imposition of sanctions pursuant to the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) with respect to any foreign person responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and your response thereto.  

As you know, the Global Magnitsky Act requires that the President, upon receipt of a request from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing of an individual exercising freedom of expression. The Global Magnitsky Act requires the President to report to the Committee within 120 days of the request with that determination and with a decision on the imposition of sanctions on the foreign person or persons responsible for the killing.  

We acknowledge receipt of your letter of February 8, 2019 stating that the President has determined that indeed seventeen Saudi nationals were responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi. 

We appreciate your ongoing efforts to brief the Committee on matters relating to the Khashoggi killing and U.S. policy with respect to Saudi Arabia, and we encourage such engagement. Our foreign policy is strongest when our two branches of government can work together. We further appreciate the President’s imposition of sanctions on November 15, 2018 on seventeen Saudi nationals believed to be connected with the Khashoggi killing. We understand that the President sanctioned these individuals, many occupying high positions in the Royal Court and ministries of the Saudi government, under the authority provided in the Global Magnitsky Act. This action by the President is an important step forward in support of human rights.  We understand that investigations are ongoing, and we request a classified briefing on the status of all these matters by the administration in a timely manner. 

We ask that you update Congress, as requested in the Committee letter dated October 10, 2018 and required by the Global Magnitsky Act, on the President’s determination with respect to any foreign person responsible for the Khashoggi murder, including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia.