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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: 294091

Reported Deaths: 6669
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19626230
Hinds18745386
Harrison16618278
Rankin12662264
Jackson12509224
Lee9679160
Madison9432199
Jones7928146
Forrest7184136
Lauderdale6813226
Lowndes6017137
Lamar586880
Lafayette5721113
Washington5205130
Bolivar4604122
Oktibbeha440693
Panola428893
Pearl River4144129
Warren4124113
Pontotoc408469
Marshall401892
Monroe3982126
Union394974
Neshoba3782168
Lincoln3508100
Hancock343874
Leflore3367118
Sunflower317686
Tate301774
Pike299795
Scott293170
Alcorn291261
Itawamba289374
Yazoo287962
Coahoma277367
Tippah276765
Copiah276357
Simpson273878
Prentiss269558
Leake252271
Wayne252241
Marion251978
Covington248478
Grenada246677
Adams233877
George231245
Newton227552
Winston221475
Jasper212945
Tishomingo211965
Attala206269
Chickasaw200951
Holmes181770
Clay178550
Stone171929
Tallahatchie170439
Clarke169171
Calhoun157528
Smith152531
Yalobusha143737
Greene127433
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Montgomery121838
Perry121534
Lawrence119621
Carroll118124
Amite111232
Webster110230
Jefferson Davis101531
Tunica98923
Claiborne98129
Benton93324
Humphreys92527
Kemper89723
Quitman77114
Franklin75919
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62326
Jefferson62027
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 492683

Reported Deaths: 9930
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson709061374
Mobile36044725
Madison32355455
Tuscaloosa24093410
Montgomery22536501
Shelby21892215
Baldwin19714283
Lee14950153
Morgan13641251
Calhoun13232286
Etowah13163319
Marshall11250209
Houston10073261
Elmore9371185
Limestone9353134
Cullman8891181
St. Clair8813223
Lauderdale8594211
DeKalb8441175
Talladega7511163
Walker6514255
Jackson6487102
Autauga624891
Blount6095127
Colbert6000118
Coffee5238102
Dale4637107
Russell403930
Franklin398977
Covington3953106
Chilton3868100
Escambia377272
Tallapoosa3581142
Clarke343650
Chambers3406110
Dallas3401141
Pike293272
Lawrence282684
Marion281695
Winston246567
Bibb244960
Geneva239070
Marengo235355
Pickens224454
Barbour211351
Hale209468
Fayette200256
Butler195666
Henry182241
Cherokee176838
Monroe166139
Randolph163640
Washington156435
Crenshaw144354
Clay143854
Macon141743
Cleburne137339
Lamar132533
Lowndes130851
Wilcox121625
Bullock116736
Conecuh106724
Perry105527
Sumter98331
Coosa88823
Greene87532
Choctaw55023
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