White House declines to meet Congress’ deadline on Khashoggi inquiry

White House declines to meet Congress’ deadline on Khashoggi inquiry
In this Dec. 15, 2014 file photo, Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali, File) (Source: AP)

(CNN) – The White House is not going to meet the deadline imposed by Congress to provide information on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Trump administration was supposed to respond by Friday, but instead issued a statement saying the president can decline requests from Congress when appropriate.

Congress wants President Donald Trump to weigh in on whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for a violation of human rights for the murder of the journalist, a Washington Post columnist who wrote critically of the crown prince.

U.S. Senators asked the administration to decide whether to bring sanctions against Saudi Arabian officials under the Global Magnitsky Act back in October, one week after Khashoggi’s murder and dismemberment in Turkey at the hands of Saudi operatives.

The Global Magnitsky Act requires the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross violation of human rights “against an individual exercising freedom of expression.”

In November, the U.S. did announce Magnitsky Act sanctions on 17 people for their alleged role in the killing, including Consul General Mohammed Alotaibi, who oversaw the Saudi consulate were Khashoggi was killed.

Friday is the deadline for the president to tell the Senate whether other high-ranking Saudi officials should be sanctioned under the act.

Saudi leaders admit some of its officials were involved in the killing, but deny senior leadership knew anything about it until it happened.

Also on Friday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced legislation that would require mandatory sanctions on those responsible for Khashoggi’s death, prohibit certain weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and report on human rights within the country.

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