Marco Rubio: Mnuchin should not visit Saudi Arabia amid search for missing journalist

Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should not attend an ...

Posted: Oct 15, 2018 11:37 AM
Updated: Oct 15, 2018 11:37 AM

Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday that Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin should not attend an upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia amid an ongoing investigation into the country's possible involvement in the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who went missing earlier this month in Turkey.

"I don't think he should go," Rubio told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union," adding that he doesn't think any US officials should continue with their usual business in Saudi Arabia until Washington gets to the bottom of Khashoggi's disappearance.

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"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," Rubio, R-Florida, 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.

Rubio said that there will be "a very strong congressional response" if Khashoggi is found dead.

"I believe the Trump administration will do something — the President has said that. But if he doesn't, Congress will." Rubio told Tapper.

"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," he 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.

Mnuchin remains committed to event despite sponsor pullouts

Mnuchin said Friday that he still plans to attend the investment conference, doubling down on the administration's hesitant response to Khashoggi's disappearance.

"The conference is on. For now, I am going," Mnuchin told reporters early Saturday morning at a closing press conference at the International Monetary Fund's annual meeting.

He said administration officials were looking forward to the results of the investigations and suggested plans could changed based on what information comes out next week.

Even as Mnuchin remains committed to attending the conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is facing growing isolation as sponsors pull out of the event, which is slated to take place later this month.

Most of the news outlets that had agreed to sponsor the Saudi Future Investment Initiative -- known as "Davos in the desert" -- have now withdrawn.

They include Japanese media company Nikkei, CNBC, The New York Times and the Financial Times. Bloomberg said Friday it was pulling out as a media partner but added it still planned to cover news from the conference.

CNN, which was a media partner for the event, confirmed Friday that it too would no longer participate in the conference. Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, Uber chief Dara Khosrowshahi and The Economist's editor-in-chief, Zanny Minton Beddoes, have also pulled out.

However, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told reporters Saturday at the IMF's annual meeting in Indonesia she still planned to go but would be paying close attention to new information about Khashoggi's disappearance.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313942

Reported Deaths: 7240
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21580258
Hinds20330415
Harrison17879309
Rankin13594278
Jackson13429246
Madison10088217
Lee9970174
Jones8370163
Forrest7670152
Lauderdale7188241
Lowndes6387146
Lamar622486
Lafayette6184118
Washington5332133
Bolivar4801132
Oktibbeha462198
Panola4582106
Pearl River4506146
Marshall4435103
Warren4386121
Pontotoc420172
Monroe4107133
Union410076
Neshoba4030176
Lincoln3962110
Hancock378486
Leflore3493125
Sunflower335990
Tate333384
Pike3316105
Scott315773
Alcorn312768
Yazoo311469
Itawamba299777
Copiah296865
Coahoma295179
Simpson294988
Tippah288168
Prentiss279760
Adams278782
Marion269080
Leake267473
Wayne262641
Grenada261386
Covington258281
George247848
Newton246261
Winston227081
Tishomingo226667
Jasper221048
Attala214273
Chickasaw207757
Holmes188873
Clay185254
Stone182433
Tallahatchie178541
Clarke177980
Calhoun170532
Yalobusha164238
Smith162334
Walthall133945
Greene130533
Lawrence128524
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123042
Carroll121828
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107033
Tunica105226
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96533
Kemper95728
Franklin83623
Quitman80716
Choctaw76318
Wilkinson67230
Jefferson65528
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 531404

Reported Deaths: 10985
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765501522
Mobile41036805
Madison34789503
Tuscaloosa25788453
Montgomery24340589
Shelby23449249
Baldwin21154308
Lee15882171
Calhoun14511314
Morgan14306279
Etowah13843353
Marshall12232223
Houston10570281
Elmore10068205
Limestone9974151
Cullman9676194
St. Clair9661243
Lauderdale9427241
DeKalb8831186
Talladega8227176
Walker7241277
Autauga6926108
Jackson6814112
Blount6678137
Colbert6306134
Coffee5519119
Dale4838111
Russell441538
Chilton4296112
Franklin426082
Covington4129118
Tallapoosa4023152
Escambia393677
Chambers3573123
Dallas3551152
Clarke351161
Marion3122101
Pike310977
Lawrence300398
Winston274473
Bibb260964
Geneva250477
Marengo249564
Pickens234461
Barbour231057
Hale223077
Butler216069
Fayette212562
Henry188844
Cherokee185245
Randolph180542
Monroe177540
Washington167339
Macon159650
Clay156756
Crenshaw152557
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107628
Sumter104732
Greene92534
Choctaw60724
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