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Dem Congressman Confronts Pompeo Over Khashoggi Murder: Will We Hold Saudi Crown Prince Accountable?

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) confronted State Secretary Mike Pompeo Wednesday afternoon over the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Connolly invoked Pompeo’s recent meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in Riyadh.

“At that meeting you said, I believe, that they would be held to account. But you were meeting with a man who is assuring you they would be held to account, when he is himself suspected strongly of having orchestrated the murder,” he said, lamenting Khashoggi was denied his inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness the day he was murdered in the Saudi embassy in Turkey.

Connolly said he had himself met with Khashoggi, who lived in his district. They had discussed Saudi issues. Connolly expressed bewilderment that President Donald Trump‘s administration would continue to engage in “business as normal” when it was confirmed that the Saudis were responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, and asked Pompeo whether he plans to hold bin Salman accountable for something that happened under his watch.

“I guess I want to ask you, Mr. Secretary, were you aware of the fact, at that point, of the gruesome details of the murder of my constituent, Mr. Khashoggi? Did you discuss that murder with the Crown Prince? And how are we going to, moving forward, hold the Crown Prince and the Saudi government responsible for one of the most grisly episodes ever to occur in a consulate or an embassy in our diplomatic experience?”

Pompeo responded that he was aware of the murder and did discuss it with the Saudi Crown Prince. He said the Trump administration is using “all of the tools that we have in our capacity” to uncover the details of the murder and hold the perpetrators accountable. Connolly challenged whether the Trump administration would be willing to hold even the Crown Prince accountable if it was found he was responsible for the murder.

“I said anyone,” Pompeo responded briefly.

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