[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 186 (Tuesday, November 27, 2018)]
[Pages S7134-S7135]


      By Mr. WYDEN (for himself, Mr. Heinrich, Mr. Reed, and Ms. 
  S. 3658. A bill to require the Director of National Intelligence to 
submit to Congress a report on the death of Jamal Khashoggi, and for 
other purposes; to the Select Committee on Intelligence.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, today I am introducing legislation to 
require the Director of National Intelligence to provide the Congress 
and the public an assessment of who carried out, participated in, 
ordered, or was otherwise complicit in, or responsible for, the murder 
of Jamal Khashoggi.
  This question is of enormous importance to the Congress and the 
American people. Jamal Khashoggi was a journalist. He wrote for the 
Washington Post, and he resided in the United States. He visited the 
Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, only because he was seeking 
documents to get married. But he never came out. The Saudis killed him, 
and they covered it up.
  Naturally, the American people want to know what happened and who 
ordered this assassination. In an interview on November 18, Donald 
Trump was asked whether the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin 
Salman, lied to him when he denied knowing about Khashoggi's murder. 
But Trump's response was simply ``Will anybody really know?''
  Those kinds of judgments are what we have an Intelligence Community 
for. So I called for CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National 
Intelligence Dan Coats to come forward and provide a public assessment 
of who was responsible for the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. 
Unfortunately, that did not happen, and Donald Trump only doubled down. 
Last Tuesday, he put out a sickening statement in which he made it 
clear that he did not care who may have ordered the murder. In a 
display of cowardice and weakness, Donald Trump let it be known that 
his blind devotion to the Saudis will lead him to abandon American 
values, as well as our moral standing in the world.
  The reasons behind Donald Trump's embrace of the Saudi dictators at 
the expense of American interests, like his affection for President 
Putin, are not fully known. In both cases, there are financial 
entanglements that demand aggressive and thorough investigation.
  And, in both cases, Donald Trump has attempted to muddy the waters by 
casting doubts on U.S. intelligence. That is why, in his statement last 
Tuesday, he continued to insist that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was 
an unsolvable mystery. This is what he said: ``Our intelligence 
agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be 
that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event--maybe he did 
and maybe he didn't!''
  Donald Trump no doubt hopes that will be the last word. But Congress 
can make sure that it isn't. My legislation requires the Intelligence 
Community to provide an unclassified, public assessment about the 
killing of Jamal Khashoggi. That assessment, not the predictable 
obfuscations of Donald Trump, will then provide the basis on which the 
Congress and the American people can move forward after this atrocity.
  This intelligence assessment is critical to the debate currently 
going on in the Congress about U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia. The 
Kingdom's human rights abuses go well beyond the murder of Jamal 
Khashoggi. A report last week about the torture of women's rights 
activists is just the latest of many years of accounts of abuses 
carried out by this autocratic and brutal regime. Many Members of 
Congress, including myself, are also deeply concerned about Saudi 
Arabia's role in the war in Yemen, which has created almost 
unimaginable suffering.
  The importance of a public Intelligence Community assessment about 
the Khashoggi murder extends beyond Saudi Arabia. If the world's 
dictators know that they can kill journalists and American residents, 
and Donald Trump will stand in the way of a public accounting, the door 
may be open to future murders. Congress must not allow this to happen. 
Congress must draw the line. That start with letting the Intelligence 
Community speak for itself and allowing the Nation, and the world, to 
know what the Intelligence Community assesses actually happened.
  Finally, Mr. President, let me address the argument that the 
assessments of the Intelligence Community must remain secret. In many 
cases, I agree. But, as I've just explained, the questions about this 
brutal murder are far too important for Congress and the American 
people to accept the cloud of Donald Trump's willful ignorance. In 
addition, it is simply unacceptable for Donald Trump to purport to 
speak about intelligence matters and for the leaders of the 
Intelligence Community to just hide under their desks. The American 
taxpayer pays the Intelligence Community over $80 billion a year to 
uncover the truth and arrive at objective assessments. If all the 
American people get is Donald Trump telling them that everything is 
unknowable, then what is the point? This problem has come up in other 
contexts, especially with regard to election interference. 
Unfortunately, it is not going away. So it is the job of Congress to 
insist that the Intelligence Community tell us what they really think. 
And, if they won't, then Congress must require it.