Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke with Brian Kilmeade about the bi-partisan letter sent to President Trump which triggers an investigation and Global Magnitsky sanctions determination regarding the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, and how this is straining our relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud. Corker said the letter sent to the President forces the administration, over the next 120 days, to do an in-depth investigation and implement sanctions if they find out Saudi Arabia did kill Jamal Khashoggi. Corker went on to say that while he has been a strong supporter of selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the past but he would not be able to do that today.
Senator Corker also spoke about the civil discourse and political divide in America and how the aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings are helping republican senators in the mid-terms. Corker also weighed in on whether or not he would accept a role in the Trump administration after he leaves office in January.
Senator Corker on sending President Trump the bi-partisan letter on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi which triggers the Global Magnitsky Act and the impact this could have on our relations with Saudi Arabia and the politics of the Middle East
(CORKER) Well because I’ve read the intel. Let me just let you know we have to be careful about what and I’ve read a lot of stuff an open source reporting and I think that the reporters and you and others who to report on these things have generally got a pretty good picture. But look they talk to the ambassador immediately when he went missing and the ambassador told me that there are video cameras only livestream they don’t record which is ridiculous cannot be the case. And so obviously you began with your antenna way up when somebody gives you a ridiculous response like that. I’ve read the intel and I would just say this Brian I hope that I am not right. And I hope that somehow or another he is produced as a live human being someplace but I absolutely believe the Saudis martyring and I believe that it’s something that you know possibly went to the highest levels. And if that’s the case I hope it’s not a hope that he’s alive. I hope that he returns to the United States and ends up marrying his fiancé who’s desperately waiting to see any sign of him. I think it’s going to hugely alter our relationship. And as you know the entire foreign relations committee it only takes myself and Menendez the ranking member but everybody on the committee minus one person who generally is an outlier. Plus Graham and Leahy fund our foreign operations appropriations signed a letter invoking what’s called the Global Magnitsky Act and what that does is force the administration over the next hundred twenty days to do an in-depth investigation and to put sanctions in place if they find that they actually did it. We actually added language to ensure that they looked at the very highest levels of the Saudi regime. And this is this as many have said Brian is going to really alter our relationship with them if they in fact are carrying out the same kinds of things that Russia is doing and that is killing citizens in other countries like it appears Saudi may have done to an American citizen in Turkey. Now the president is wise not to jump to conclusions stating what I think has happened today. I hope I’m convinced wrong but this is this will be a serious not just for them killing a human being not for their family not just for their family. This can have a big impact on Geo geopolitics and the Middle East.
Senator Corker on the arrogance of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia
(CORKER) There’s an arrogance that has developed with them over the last year and a half an entitlement. There’s just something about the way they deal with us. Now that is very very different.
Senator Corker on supporting arms sales in the past to Saudi Arabia and how that has changed
(CORKER) I know that Congress they’re at the lowest point with Congress that they’ve ever banned since I’ve been here. I’ve been a by the way a friend of Saudi Arabia. OK. I’ve tried to keep arms sales from being blocked by Congress and have been successful. Up until this point I would not be successful in that on the floor today. And I don’t know that I would even attempt to be successful. Probably I’m now moving in another direction with them.
Senator Corker on the political divide in the aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings
(CORKER) You know Brian we just had a reporter for an off the record discussion. You know it does. And this person asked me what is the one thing that as you’re leaving concerned you and it’s this issue and that is that for some reason civil discourse is dissipating it’s going away. It’s all about who can scream the loudest or who can create the biggest protest and I do think that as we watch it the Senate races across our country the Kavanaugh hearings really firm things up for Republicans as people watched just how people are acting and watched what was happening in the hallways where some people were sincere but most a lot of the people truly were just actors if you will trying to catch people in a gotcha moment and I think that I think that’s affecting the Senate races across our country.
Senator Corker on his conversation with Senator Chuck Schumer on how the aftermath of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings are helping Marsha Blackburn in the Tennessee Senate race against Democrat Phil Bredesen
(CORKER) I told Senator Schumer after the cabinet episode that just for what it’s worth I felt it had been very detrimental to Governor Bredesen and very beneficial to Marsha (Blackburn). I don’t like to look at things in that light. I do what I do because I think they’re right or wrong. But Brian I had so many people in Tennessee that might have been open to thinking about something and it just consolidated the race so I really do think that she’s been the significant beneficiary in Tennessee of just people watching how the hearings went and the kind of questions that you were just airing before I came on.
Senator Corker on whether he would work for the Trump administration
(KILMEADE) Would you ever accept something in the Trump administration?
(CORKER) You know who knows. You know they discuss something with me three or four months ago. And it was it was you know certainly an honor. It wasn’t a particularly tough assignment. And you know as you know I mean yes. To me this is all about public service. If the right tough assignment came out where you felt like you were making a difference.
Certainly I would never say never. And you just have to look at it at that time I do think that our country has you know we’ve got tremendous needs all around the world. And I care deeply about our country and our state. And so look this is a man of tremendous honor more of an executive as you know as a legislative job but certainly when any president calls and ask you to serve you have to sit down and look at it seriously.