Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi has not been seen since he entered a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, prompting widespread rumors that the Saudi government is behind his disappearance. A bipartisan group of 11 Democratic and 11 Republican senators sent a letter to President Trump this week, calling for an investigation and a determination of whether to impose sanctions on foreign government officials because of Khashoggi’s reported disappearance, “including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia.”
The letter, signed by all but one member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was drafted pursuant to a 2016 law — the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act — that requires the president to decide within 120 days whether to impose the requested sanctions.
And that creates a problem for Trump: He may be in the awkward position of having to choose explicitly between sanctioning a favorite foreign partner — the Saudi royal family — and flouting the bipartisan will of Congress. Here’s what you need to know: [Continue reading…]