Sciutto: Trump is creating a misleading choice

CNN's Jim Sciutto contrasts President Donald Trump's defense of Saudi Arabia to former Presidents, and how they handled holding allies to account while still maintaining relationships with them.

Posted: Nov 22, 2018 7:49 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2018 8:08 AM

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker told CNN that top administration officials need to immediately brief lawmakers about the situation in Saudi Arabia, while saying President Donald Trump's handling of the situation "took our nation to a very low level."

The Tennessee Republican, who is retiring at year's end, said in a phone interview that Secretary of Defense James Mattis, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo need to brief the full Senate as soon as next week about the situation in Yemen and the circumstances behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi before senators decide what actions to take against Saudi Arabia.

And Corker also added that Trump's decision to shrug off the Khashoggi killing and side with Saudi Arabia undercut the United States' moral high ground.

"It took our nation to a very low level -- moral standing wise," Corker said of the President's response. "In essence what the President was saying is if you lavish praise on me and spend a lot of money with our country, we will turn our head as it relates to you killing journalists and doing other things."

Corker added: "I think that whole approach, even though no doubt Saudi Arabia is a country we've been an ally with, even though they are a semi-important country in the world ... our moral standing as a nation was challenged. I don't know why he went out of his way to approach it in this manner."

Corker said Trump's comments weren't subtle.

"This was absolutely laying it out there that our value systems were around money and not around some of the things that we value greatly as a nation: human rights and other moral issues as a country."

Corker tweeted Tuesday that Trump's written statement siding with Saudi Arabia amounted to the White House "moonlighting" as the kingdom's public relations firm.

Asked why he tweeted that, Corker said: "When you read the release, the crown prince couldn't have written it any better."

How Congress ultimately decides to respond remains to be seen. Corker and Sen. Bob Menendez, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, forced the Trump administration to investigate whether the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, was responsible for the murder, something that could lead to sanctions against him under the federal Magnitsky Act.

But the administration can put off a final decision on that issue until February. And whether Congress can coalesce around a single approach by December 7, the deadline for a must-pass spending bill to keep part of the government open, is highly uncertain.

Corker said the first step is for a briefing from the Trump administration to determine whether "other policy steps" are necessary to take.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 57779

Reported Deaths: 1670
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin18393825
Ramsey7130261
Dakota4112104
Anoka3456113
Stearns284720
Washington197843
Nobles17516
Olmsted164923
Scott143918
Mower10882
Rice10068
Blue Earth8655
Wright8275
Carver8052
Clay75840
Kandiyohi6811
Sherburne6677
St. Louis47519
Todd4212
Lyon4203
Freeborn3561
Steele3341
Nicollet32213
Benton3133
Watonwan3000
Winona25216
Crow Wing22114
Beltrami2070
Martin2045
Le Sueur2031
Chisago1841
Goodhue1838
Otter Tail1823
Cottonwood1730
Becker1481
McLeod1450
Pipestone1449
Polk1393
Douglas1360
Itasca13512
Waseca1330
Carlton1300
Pine1280
Dodge1250
Murray1221
Isanti1140
Unassigned10941
Chippewa1011
Brown852
Meeker852
Wabasha840
Faribault830
Morrison821
Sibley802
Rock750
Koochiching743
Pennington731
Jackson710
Mille Lacs693
Cass662
Fillmore610
Renville605
Lincoln540
Grant521
Swift521
Yellow Medicine500
Pope460
Roseau460
Houston400
Norman370
Redwood320
Wilkin313
Hubbard300
Kanabec301
Aitkin291
Marshall290
Mahnomen251
Wadena240
Big Stone220
Red Lake210
Lake180
Stevens160
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle60
Kittson30
Cook20
Lake of the Woods10

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 46704

Reported Deaths: 899
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk9874204
Woodbury367351
Black Hawk305462
Linn219887
Johnson200216
Dallas180735
Buena Vista179012
Scott163613
Dubuque159431
Marshall140725
Pottawattamie125724
Story112614
Wapello86633
Muscatine83948
Webster7637
Crawford7263
Sioux6072
Cerro Gordo58617
Tama54329
Warren5421
Jasper45825
Wright4511
Plymouth4488
Louisa37914
Dickinson3784
Clinton3383
Washington28810
Hamilton2431
Boone2342
Franklin2278
Bremer1967
Clarke1903
Emmet1852
Carroll1831
Shelby1761
Clay1741
Hardin1710
Marion1590
Allamakee1524
Poweshiek1518
Jackson1461
Benton1451
Des Moines1432
Mahaska13717
Floyd1322
Guthrie1285
Jones1262
Cedar1231
Buchanan1181
Butler1182
Hancock1172
Henry1143
Pocahontas1141
Lyon1080
Madison1072
Clayton1013
Cherokee991
Harrison990
Lee993
Delaware941
Humboldt941
Iowa941
Taylor940
Monona910
Winneshiek901
Mills850
Calhoun822
Kossuth820
Fayette810
Sac810
Palo Alto800
Mitchell780
Osceola780
Jefferson770
Page770
Grundy761
Winnebago760
Union741
Monroe707
Worth640
Lucas534
Chickasaw520
Davis511
Howard490
Cass481
Montgomery454
Appanoose433
Greene380
Fremont340
Van Buren341
Keokuk311
Ida290
Audubon281
Adair230
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned40
Rochester
Broken Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 60°
Mason City
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Albert Lea
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Austin
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Charles City
Overcast
63° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 63°
Warming temps and rain inbound
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events