WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement:

“No one doubts America’s commitment to countering Iran’s destabilizing behavior in the Middle East. Iran has been the world’s most prolific state sponsor of terrorism, a threat to the United States and our allies, and the architect of sectarian violence and instability.  These threats underscore why the United States and Saudi Arabia have long worked together to counterbalance Iran.

“While the President wildly overstates the level of Saudi investment in the United States—particularly in American weapons systems—the reality is that the Saudis couldn’t simply buy their weapons elsewhere. It would take years for the Saudi military to reequip with Russian or Chinese weapons. That gives the United States tremendous leverage.

“With that leverage, the United States should demand not only that American interests and security are preserved, but should also stand up for American values in our foreign policy. It’s unacceptable to murder a journalist. When the United States is leading on the global stage, we can apply the sort of pressure that advances our values. Instead, the President is acting as though the United States is dependent on Saudi Arabia and not the other way around.

“The President is also again casting doubt on the ability of America’s intelligence community and trying to sweep bad acts under the rug. We saw him do it with Putin, and now he wants to downplay a horrific murder. Donald Trump must not make the same mistake again, but should respect the intelligence community’s findings.

“The U.S.-Saudi relationship is strategically important, but after the shocking events in Istanbul, we cannot look the other way. Congress needs to be briefed by the intelligence community, and we need answers about why the Administration has behaved the way it has in the wake of this incident.”

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