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Trump may skip deadline for report on Saudi journalist’s murder

By Reuters - Feb 09,2019 - Last updated at Feb 09,2019

WASHINGTON - The Trump administration signalled on Friday it was unlikely to meet a deadline to report to Congress on whether it intends to impose sanctions on those responsible for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, prompting an angry backlash on Capitol Hill.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky human rights act in October, giving the administration 120 days until Feb. 8 to report on who was responsible for the death of Khashoggi and whether the United States would impose sanctions on that person or persons.

Khashoggi, a US resident who wrote for The Washington Post, was killed at a Saudi consulate in Turkey in early October, sparking global outrage. In Saudi Arabia, 11 suspects have been indicted in the murder, and officials have rejected accusations that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the killing. 

Congressional aides said they had not received a report from the White House by early evening on Friday. Some said they still hoped to receive it by early next week, but the administration said President Donald Trump did not feel the need to send one.

“The President maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate,” a senior administration official said in an emailed statement. “The US Government will continue to consult with Congress and work to hold accountable those responsible for Jamal Khashoggi’s killing.”

Some lawmakers responded angrily and said they intended to punish whoever was responsible.

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