President Donald Trump faces a Friday deadline to determine if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
WASHINGTON: US lawmakers threatened Thursday to take tougher action against Saudi Arabia over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi amid a new revelation that the kingdom’s powerful crown prince spoke of going after him with a “bullet.”
President Donald Trump faces a Friday deadline set by Congress to determine if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of Khashoggi, who was strangled and dismembered after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Special UN rapporteur, Agnes Callamard, said Thursday after a visit to Turkey that the killing of Khashoggi, who had written critical pieces on Saudi Arabia in The Washington Post, had been “planned and perpetrated” by Saudi officials.
The New York Times, citing officials who had seen US intelligence, said that Prince Mohammed had warned in an intercepted conversation to an aide in 2017 that he would go after Khashoggi “with a bullet” if he did not return to Saudi Arabia from the United States.
US intelligence understood that the ambitious 33-year-old heir apparent was ready to kill the journalist, although he may not have literally meant to shoot him, according to the newspaper.
The kingdom, after initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, has acknowledged that a team killed him inside the embassy but described it as a rogue operation that did not involve the crown prince.
In October, the then top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee invoked a law that gave the Trump administration 120 days — until February 8 — to determine whether Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s murder and to outline actions against him.