Despite prosecutors in Saudi Arabia acknowledging that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a pre-meditated murder and this version being bolstered by intelligence agencies in Turkey and the U.S., President Donald Trump has publicly stood by its ally Saudi Arabia.
However, with the US House of Representatives now being controlled by the Democrats, the President’s version of events surrounding Jamal Khashoggi's murder is being challenged. Adam Schiff, a Democratic senator who is set to lead the House intelligence committee when the US Congress returns in January, accused President Donald Trump of not telling the truth in his response to Khashoggi's murder.
"I think the president is being dishonest with the American people," Schiff said during an interview with CNN. "It would be one thing if he said 'this is what has happened but nonetheless we need to maintain a relationship with the kingdom, but that is not what he is doing," Schiff said.
The Democratic Party Senator added, "It telegraphs to despotes around the world they can murder with impunity and that this president will have their back as long as they praise them or do business with him."
Senators from Donald Trump’s own party are also not agreeing to the President’s policy of – not rocking the boat with U.S.’s strongest ally in the Middle East. Senator Mike Lee from the Republican Party has called on Congress to take action.
"I don't know why he's siding with the Saudis, but I think there are things we can do to change our relationship with the Saudis notwithstanding whatever his personal motivations might be," Lee added. "But again, I think Congress has to take some ownership of US foreign policy."
Republican Senator Joni Ernst, also speaking to CNN acknowledged Saudi Arabia's importance as a strategic partner. "However, we also are a very strong nation when it comes to human rights, when it comes to the rule of law," Ernst said. "And if there are indicators that the prince was involved in this murder then we need to absolutely consider further action."
Other Republican senators, including Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Bob Corker, have been vocal about their belief of Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince’s involvement in Khashoggi's killing.
"I never thought I’d see the day a White House would moonlight as a public relations firm for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia," Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, wrote on Twitter after Trump's comments on Tuesday.