Splitting with President Donald Trump, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Axios he try to punish Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman if the CIA has in fact determined that MBS was likely responsible for the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“It’s important that we back up the intel community if we think they’re right,” Graham told Axios.
If reports about the CIA’s intelligence are true, the South Carolina senator said “everything would be on the table” for punishment—including the end to President Donald Trump’s acclaimed arms deal—as “we cannot have a normal strategic relationship with somebody this crazy.”
He and Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez are already working on sanctions against Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s killing, Axios reports. Graham also said he will be looking at MBS’s behavior in a number of instances.
“What I would also do in my resolution is also look at other behavior of MBS that has been very erratic and disruptive: the handling of the Yemen war, the bizarre episode with the prime minister from Lebanon, and the embargo of Qatar without any consultation,” he told Axios.
Graham’s position opposes that of Trump, who announced last week that he would stand with Saudi Arabia. While he acknowledged the crown prince may have been involved, Trump argued it could not be proven: “We may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi,” the White House said, noting that billions of dollars could be lost to Russia or China if the U.S. were to cancel its arms deal with Saudi Arabia.