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Sen. Coons calls for answers in journalist's disappearance


Sen. Chris Coons said he wants to learn more about what happened to a U.S. resident and journalist who vanished and is alleged to have been murdered.

Coons said as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he’s pressing for answers in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi is a Washington Post opinion writer and Virginia resident. A critic of the Saudi royal family, he was last seen entering the Saudi Consulate in Turkey. Turkish officials say they have audio and video recordings of Khashoggi being tortured and murdered in the consulate.

Coons said he plans to speak to the leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee to see what more senators can do.

“If we fail to take clear enough action, it will send the wrong signal to the world that the United States is compromising some of its core values," he said. "It’s support for a free press, for journalists and for human rights in order to pursue our strategic interests.”

Coons wants the White House take a clear and strong stance on press freedoms in wake of the reports.

“This is a moment of real challenge for the Trump administration, for the president to show that he places a higher priority on some of our core American values than on an important alliance in a critical region in the world,” he said.

A bipartisan group of senators, including Coons, have sent President Trump a letter asking for a human rights investigation and to impose sanctions if the Saudis are responsible. Trump said the alleged murder is terrible, but has not placed the blame on the Saudis. Saudi officials deny any involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Coons said although President Trump has business relationships with the Saudis, he’s giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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