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WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism, on Thursday joined MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports to discuss the forthcoming release of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the need to reset the U.S.-Saudi partnership.

On the coming ODNI report regarding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Murphy said: “There's just no way that Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was carried out without either the knowledge or direction of Mohammed bin Salman. He was intimately involved in the pursuit of Saudi dissidents. Jamal Khashoggi was on a long list of these dissidents who lived all around the world that were pursued by Saudi agents, were attempted to be brought back to Saudi Arabia. Maybe this attempted extradition went badly wrong, but we have to remember the Saudis lied to us and the world about it for weeks.”

On the need to reset the U.S.-Saudi relationship, Murphy said: “It's just a reminder of why we need to reset our relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, why we should be really careful about selling them weapons at the pace we have been selling over the past 10 years. These are dangerous individuals inside this regime with a murderous history. And this report, should it name MBS specifically, is going to be further confirmation of the caution we should take when entering into relations with the Saudis.”

Murphy continued: “I do believe that we need a complete reevaluation of our relationship with Saudi Arabia. And I think it does begin with a downsizing of our security partnership. Right now, we are selling the Saudis weapons that they are using to bomb and target civilians inside Yemen. I just don't believe it's in the U.S. security interest any longer to get in the middle of this series of proxy wars between the Saudis and the Iranians.

The Iranian regime is an adversary of the United States, but by perpetuating these conflicts in places like Yemen or Syria, or frankly just strengthening Iran's hand, the longer these conflicts go, the more influence they have in places like Yemen. So I hope that the Biden administration thinks really carefully about whether we're going to continue to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia at the pace we are today.

“It also has the effect of just spinning up an arms race in the region, which is bad for us and all of our partners there. So I think that that is one piece of the relationship that needs to be reevaluated.”

On the need for punitive action for the Saudis in the aftermath of the report’s release, Murphy said: “Well, as you mentioned, it was just so inexplicable that the Trump administration proudly covered up the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and took almost no actions to hold individuals accountable. This was not an American citizen, but an American resident, someone who had come to the United States because he feared for his life if he stayed inside Saudi Arabia.

“And the idea that we would not deliver any consequences to the Saudis who pursued Jamal Khashoggi, an American resident, hunted him down, and killed him, it weakens America in the eyes of the world. It invites other countries to do the same. So, yes, I would hope that in the wake of this report when it's released, that we have a much broader set of accountability measures whether those are financial sanctions or visa withdrawals for any individuals that have been found to have taken part in this in this murder.” 

This week, Murphy addressed the Council on Foreign Relations to make the case that U.S. policy in the Gulf no longer aligns with our interests, and detailed how President Biden can reset U.S. relationships in the region in a way that promotes American values, keeps the United States out of foreign entanglements, and prioritizes peace and stability across the region. Murphy also authored an op-ed in Foreign Affairs proposing a new path for U.S. Gulf policy under President Biden.

Click here to view the entirety of Murphy’s full interview.