US lawmakers to force Trump to release report naming Saudi officials in Khashoggi killing

US lawmakers to force Trump to release report naming Saudi officials in Khashoggi killing
US lawmakers say the public must know which Saudi officials were named in a report the Trump administration refused to release to the public last year.
3 min read
Jamal Khashoggi was killed at Saudi Arabia's Istanbul consulate in 2018 [Getty]

US Democratic Party lawmakers are increasing pressure on President Donald Trump's administration to release a report detailing the involvement of Saudi officials in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman could well be among those named in the report, as a UN report has already concluded that there is "credible evidence" that he was. The CIA and Turkish intelligence have also reportedly reached similar conclusions.

US lawmakers are currently drafting legislation to allow for the report's public release.

"There can be no accountability for the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi until the administration makes public what the US government knows regarding who in the Saudi government ordered, carried out and attempted to cover up the killing," House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., told Al-Monitor in a statement.

"Congress will need to take further legislative and budgetary steps to ensure declassification of a report the intelligence community provided to Congress earlier this year."

Khashoggi, a 59-year-old Washington Post contributor and critic of the crown prince, was strangled and his body cut into pieces by a 15-man Saudi squad inside the consulate, according to Turkish officials. His remains have not been found.

Riyadh has described the murder as a "rogue" operation, but both the CIA and Agnes Callamard, investigating on behalf of the UN, have directly linked Crown Prince Mohammed to the killing - a charge the kingdom vehemently denies.

The 2019 defence authorisation bill required the Trump administration to submit an unclassified version of the report to Congress. The bill also included a provision for sanctioning the Saudi officials named in the report. The bill passed through the House, however, sanctions were dropped after pressure from the White House and Republican senators.

The White House has also refused to released an unclassified report, giving a classified version instead in February.

Last week, Khashoggi's sons publically forgave their father's killers, however, the move was slammed by a UN expert as a "parody of justice".

Although "shocking", the announcement "was anticipated", said Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

The independent rights expert, who does not speak for the United Nations but reports her findings to it, maintained that the Saudi authorities were "playing out what they hope will be the final act in their well-rehearsed parody of justice".

And they were doing so "in front of an international community far too ready to be deceived" she said in a statement. 

But Callamard insisted that "this Saudi parody is not the final play for justice for Jamal".

She urged the international community to seek "other pathways" to justice, including calling on Turkey and the United States, where Khashoggi was a resident, to bring his case to trial.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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