GOP Rep. Shrugs Off Khashoggi Assassination: ‘Journalists Disappear All Over The Country’


Following CIA Director Gina Haspel’s briefing today on Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) shrugged off the killing of theWashington Post columnist, telling CNN that “journalists disappear all over the country.”

“We have to have a relationship with players we don’t agree with,” Stewart, a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN anchor Brianna Keilar this afternoon. “Journalists disappear all over the country. 20 have been killed in Mexico. You don’t think it happens in Turkey and China? Of course it does. We have to have a relationship with these countries.”

“What is in the best interest of the United States?” He added.

The Republican lawmaker then insisted that the Saudis will be held “accountable, including the crown prince, for whatever action he may have been involved with” — just before implying that the U.S. must remain closely allied withSaudis because of the their role in the Yemen civil war.

“What is protecting U.S. Interest and counters Shia extremists?” He said, referencing the gulf state. “What will bring an end to the war in Yemen. You have to balance all that was as we move forward.”

“As the administration moves forward, is there not a commitment to telling the truth?” Keilar asked. “It seems like what is bothering the senators, bipartisan among them including folks who supported Saudi Arabia and the Trump administration is that the Trump administration turned a blind eye to the facts.”

Stewart shot back by suggesting the anchor’s comments were untrue and stood by Donald Trump’s defense of the Saudis in regards to the Khashoggi assassination, alleging “new information may have emerged” justifying the president’s comments.

In a statement last month, Trump implied that he did not care whether or not Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing.

“It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” He said, while also noting, “”We’re with Saudi Arabia. We’re staying with Saudi Arabia.”

Watch above, via CNN.

[image via screengrab]

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Caleb Ecarma was a reporter at Mediaite. Email him here: Follow him on Twitter here: @calebecarma