Sen. Lindsey Graham warned President Trump in an interview on FNC's 'The Story' Tuesday night that in the wake of the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, other countries are watching and "sizing him up" to see how he will respond.
Graham attended a classified CIA briefing on capitol hill Tuesday that senators have said left them no doubts that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was behind the killing.
"If you give this guy a pass, after he disrespected you, you will look weak and you don’t want to look weak. Right now, you’ve got to be strong. Everybody’s watching," Graham warned Trump.
GRAHAM: And it’s crystal clear, beyond any doubt. This is could not have happened without the crown prince knowing about it. We have a ton of intelligence that the people in charge of killing Mr. Khashoggi work directly for the crown prince. His number on go-to guy orchestrated the move, and the president’s right about this.
It is in our interests to have a relationship with Saudi Arabia. They’ve been a strategic ally for – since World War II. It’s not in our interest to give the crown prince, who’s 33, 34-years-old, a pass for the murder of an American resident with three American children. You’re going to have open season on Americans everywhere.
So I’m going to come down hard like a ton of bricks on the crown price and try to salvage the relationship with Saudi Arabia.
MACCALLUM: Have you talked to the president... And is he changing his mind on any of this?
GRAHAM: I don’t know. The president is in a different spot, you know. He’s the president of the United States, Congress has an independent obligation to look at these things. You know, every now and then, Congress goes its own way. We did this with Bush on the Detainee Treatment Act.
You know, Obama did not want to put sanctions on Iran, and the Congress said, "Yes, we should." This is a situation where Congress will probably take a different view of it. We have to have the long view of things.
Presidents come and go, and what I want to make sure of is, if you’re going to ally with the United States – if you’re going to be our ally, you want to have access to our economy and buy our weapons, there’s a certain price to be paid.
You cant chop up a guy in a consulate, particularly who’s an American resident, who is an opinion journalist for "The Washington Post," and expect us to do nothing about it. So it’s pretty simple for Saudi Arabia, if you want to keep this relationship.
You disrespected it, you need to repair it, the damages being done by the crown prince, not by the United States. And if you want to fix it, you should do something about it.