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MIAMI (CBSMiami/CNN) — Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that there will be “a very strong congressional response” if Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing earlier this month in Turkey, is found dead.
“I believe the Trump administration will do something — the President has said that. But if he doesn’t, Congress will,” Rubio, R-Florida, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“That I can tell you with 100 percent certainty, with almost full unanimity across the board, Republicans and Democrats, there will be a very strong congressional response if in fact the Saudis lured him into that consulate, murdered him, cut up his body and disposed of it,” Rubio said.
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain paperwork that would allow him to marry his Turkish fiancée. He hasn’t been seen in public since.
The Florida Republican also said that he didn’t think US officials should continue with their usual business in Saudi Arabia until Washington gets to the bottom of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
“I don’t think he should go,” Rubio said when asked whether Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should attend an upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia.
“I don’t think any of our government officials should be going and pretending it’s business as usual until we know exactly what’s happened here,” the senator said.
Saudi Arabia firmly denies any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance and says he left the consulate that afternoon. But his fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside the consulate, says she did not see him re-emerge. Turkey has called on Saudi officials to provide evidence he left the consulate.
President Donald Trump vowed in a “60 Minutes” interview that airs Sunday that the United States would get to the bottom of what happened to Khashoggi and that there would be “severe punishment” if he is found to have been killed.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report).