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– Video Content: Schiff suggests Trump has ‘financial motives’ that influence Saudi Arabia policy
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) on Sunday questioned whether the Trump administration’s rhetoric and actions toward Saudi Arabia may be influenced by the Trump family’s finances, and called for Congress to look into the matter.
Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC’s “This Week” that “we in the intelligence community” should look into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“We also ought to determine whether financial motives are motivating the president and the first family,” he continued.
“This is the very problem with the president not releasing his tax returns,” Schiff said. “It leaves the American people wondering, is U.S.-Saudi policy being driven by something other than national interests.”
Schiff, who has been among Trump’s most outspoken critics in Congress, said Friday that Congress should take action against Saudi Arabia in response to Khashoggi’s death in the absence of a response from the Trump administration.
Saudi officials announced Friday that Khashoggi was killed in a “fight” gone awry at the consulate, and that 18 people had been detained in connection to the incident.
The explanation promptly drew skepticism from U.S. senators and Khashoggi’s former colleagues, who said the idea of the 59-year-old getting into a fight with Saudi security officials did not seem credible.
Trump called the explanation a “good first step,” but on Saturday acknowledged to The Washington Post that the Saudi comments about Khashoggi’s disappearance were constantly changing.
The president has walked a fine line in the wake of the journalist’s disappearance, at times vowing harsh punishment for those responsible and alternatively defending the importance of the economic relationship between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
The president has drawn criticism from Schiff and other Democrats for not responding more forcefully in the case of Khashoggi’s death, but he and his family members have denied that they have financial investments in Saudi Arabia.
“For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!” Trump tweeted last week.
Trump cited business dealings with Saudi Arabia during a 2015 campaign rally in which he bragged that the Saudis “buy apartments from me.”
The president broke with decades worth of tradition when he declined to release his tax returns during the 2016 campaign. The White House said there are no plans to release the president’s returns in the wake of a New York Times report that found Trump engaged in what amounted to tax fraud.
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