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'America is not covering up Khashoggi murder,' Pompeo claims

The Trump administration provoked anger in congress on Friday [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2019

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The US will continue investigating the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday.

The US government will continue probing the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday, following criticism of the White House's handling of the investigation into the murder.

It comes after President Donald Trump administration failed to meet a legally-mandated deadline to submit a report to Congress on who was responsible for the killing of Khashoggi - a well-respected Saudi journalist - and whether sanctions should be imposed on those responsible.

"America is not covering up for murder," Pompeo said, pledging that the United States would take action to ensure those responsible for Khashoggi's death were held accountable.

On 8 February, the deadline for submitting the Khashoggi report to Congress, a State Department representative told Reuters. Pompeo had briefed lawmakers about the investigation but the secretary of state did not disclose any further details.

That same day, the Trump administration failed to turn in its report on the Khashoggi killing to Congress, provoking anger among lawmakers.

Just a day before, the New York Times reported that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely considered to be implicated in the Khashoggi killing, said he would "use a bullet" on Khashoggi in 2017.

A UN Special Rapporteur
accused Saudi officials of planning and perpetrating Khashoggi's "brutal and premeditated killing" on Thursday.

"This amounts to the Trump administration aiding in the cover-up of a murder," said Democratic Senator Tim Kaine on Sunday. "America should never descend to this level of moral bankruptcy."

"The response from Secretary Pompeo doesn't come close to fulfilling the statutory mandate and demonstrates what the administration has wanted all along - the Khashoggi murder to be forgotten," said Robert Menendez, the ranking Democrat in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a statement on Friday.

Bipartisan anger at the administration's failure to meet the deadline led to the introduction of legislation which would impose sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi's death and prohibit certain arms sales to Riyadh.

The Senate also approved a resolution to end US military support for the Saudi war in Yemen.

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