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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

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Cases: 447349

Reported Deaths: 6007
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin929301478
Ramsey39917738
Dakota32945340
Anoka30935364
Washington20116227
Stearns17847187
St. Louis13658241
Scott1193296
Wright11598104
Olmsted1045075
Sherburne820665
Carver693436
Clay651680
Rice605268
Kandiyohi553671
Blue Earth539933
Crow Wing482574
Otter Tail456367
Chisago452032
Benton419586
Winona388046
Douglas373966
Nobles369646
Mower364729
Goodhue346858
Polk328256
McLeod324745
Morrison311544
Beltrami309947
Lyon301136
Becker284639
Itasca284543
Isanti282441
Carlton279443
Steele27279
Pine266613
Freeborn244621
Todd231730
Nicollet224036
Brown214734
Mille Lacs214046
Le Sueur209415
Cass207623
Meeker199433
Waseca188916
Wabasha17023
Martin169926
Roseau165416
Hubbard149238
Redwood139627
Renville137239
Houston135613
Dodge13434
Chippewa131032
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Fillmore12315
Wadena119916
Rock110112
Sibley10847
Aitkin108033
Watonwan10638
Faribault105716
Pennington99215
Kanabec97418
Pipestone94023
Yellow Medicine93714
Murray8815
Jackson85310
Swift83418
Pope7385
Marshall70315
Stevens7018
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Lac qui Parle65716
Lake63615
Wilkin6249
Koochiching59510
Lincoln4831
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Unassigned44168
Grant4298
Norman4238
Mahnomen4107
Kittson37219
Red Lake3164
Traverse2503
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Cook1140

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 304391

Reported Deaths: 4270
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45574448
Linn17742274
Scott15414163
Black Hawk13696236
Woodbury12968175
Johnson1207549
Dubuque11348150
Pottawattamie8959112
Dallas885171
Story865434
Webster468271
Cerro Gordo464768
Sioux454456
Clinton449461
Warren440738
Marshall426561
Buena Vista392329
Muscatine388477
Des Moines381041
Plymouth349768
Wapello342398
Jasper321258
Lee315830
Marion303852
Jones270649
Henry263830
Carroll253934
Bremer242648
Crawford229422
Boone217017
Washington216831
Benton209244
Mahaska191836
Jackson191431
Tama186657
Dickinson185026
Delaware173036
Kossuth172143
Clay167319
Wright163624
Fayette161122
Buchanan159123
Hamilton158729
Winneshiek155219
Harrison154862
Hardin154429
Cedar152519
Clayton151348
Butler147324
Page144215
Floyd138836
Cherokee138427
Mills136216
Lyon134832
Poweshiek132424
Hancock129824
Allamakee127627
Iowa124322
Calhoun12209
Grundy120526
Jefferson120124
Madison11999
Winnebago118729
Mitchell116134
Louisa114730
Cass112841
Chickasaw110912
Sac110915
Emmet110431
Appanoose110138
Union108222
Humboldt105319
Guthrie102924
Shelby102126
Franklin101718
Unassigned9230
Palo Alto9049
Keokuk84926
Montgomery84822
Howard83119
Monroe80918
Clarke7927
Pocahontas77611
Ida74130
Davis69121
Greene6917
Adair68720
Lucas6488
Monona64016
Osceola6389
Worth6063
Taylor5919
Fremont5086
Van Buren49612
Decatur4824
Ringgold4289
Audubon4158
Wayne41421
Adams2953
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