Saudi Government, Senator Ron Wyden, Saudi Arabia discussed on The Takeaway

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Wyden is the senior democratic Senator from the state. He doesn't live far from where Saudi national AbdulRahman, Nora allegedly struck and killed Fallon smart. And he says it was Shane Dixon. Kavanagh's reporting on this pattern of behavior by the Saudi government that God is attention. What I think really galvanized new focus on. This was the effort by the Oregonian newspaper at the end of the year, which essentially reported that credible. Government officials said that they believe that the Saudi government with involved in with giving away these criminal suspects. In response Senator Wyden alongside fellow Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley introduced two pieces of legislation. Late last month the escape of Saudi nationals act and the preserving American Justice Act aimed to stop foreign consulates from helping their citizens escape the US judicial system. But when I sat down with Senator Wyden, he says the response from federal agencies has been slow year. We are six weeks later and administration officials like the secretary of state won't answer. A thing goal question or say a single word about this troubling pattern six weeks in and you've followed up with the the State Department and the Justice department on on this that that that's correct? We have been after the Justice department, the FBI the State Department customs and border patrol because what we want to know a really to matters. What evidence do the key government departments have with respect to the thought he government helping its citizens? Flee American Justice. And then second what are they doing about it, for example, in the second letter to the secretary of state, I made the point that I believe the secretary of state ought to bring in the thought he ambassador and demand to know what the government knows about this. And what the Saudi government is doing to bring these criminal suspects back to Oregon could face Justice. What do you think it says about the American judicial system that there's this apparent loophole in which a powerful ally can can help someone skirt Justice like this, it raises very substantial questions in my mind about whether the Trump administration simply believe that the rule of law does not apply to Saudi Arabia. And particularly coming after the bar barbaric murder of Jamal kashogi. You have to ask yourself. Whether the thought he government understands that it is unacceptable to whisk criminal suspects out of Oregon or anywhere else in the United States Secretary of state Pompeo, who who you mentioned earlier, he's been a key figure in the aftermath of the the death of journalist Jamal kashogi and in terms of interacting with the Saudi government. Do you think Pompeo is just in general being too soft on Saudi Arabia? Well, let's put it this way. I also serve on Senate select committee on intelligence, and I'm not going to get into anything classified. But I think when you look at the public statements mean I asked a question with respect to the inanimate finding of the Senate as to Mr. kashogi and Gina house ball. Wouldn't answer it in an open session of the intelligence committee. My concern is the distant ministration has sent a whole host of signals that they are willing. And I'm not gonna speculate on motive they're willing to basically say that the rule of law doesn't apply to the Saudis. We have to take a quick break. But we'll have more with Senator Wyden in just a moment. The takeaway is supported by Staples with organization solutions for business, including calendars file, folders banker's, boxes and storage bins. More at Staples stores or Staples dot com. Staples. We return now with Senator Ron Wyden. Democratic Senator from Oregon talking about the help the Saudi government is believed to be providing to Saudi nationals who've committed crimes in the United States. And we picked up by talking about the legislation that he and Senator Merkley introduced in the Senate at the end of January, the focus of Senator Merkley legislation is try to collect the data about how widespread the practice is what governments are involved what I've tried to focus on is to try to up the ante in terms of tough consequences for the government and their leaders. I'm the ranking democrat on the Senate finance committee. What we have proposed for example, are very substantial tax penalties because we have jurisdiction over a tax law, which could affect sovereign wealth funds and could certainly. Allow for tough penalties against other high ranking authority officials is part of the issue that there's no extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia. Is that something you're you're looking at to? Yes. I mean, clearly that is one of the limits in that's why I'm going to be looking at a variety of approaches to ensure there's some consequences. Here's what it comes down to you. And I'm gonna head and home in a few days. And I'm sure it's gonna come up. We're feel that we're basically dealing with the needy evil. Government is very interested in flouting modern diplomatic norms of why introduce legislation to bar Saudi Arabia's leaders from the United States until the government returned suspects who fled and we send a very strong. Message through the tax law with major tax penalties on governments and sovereign wealth fund from a country that helps it citizens escape American Justice before we let you go Senator as you mentioned, you're a member of the Senate intelligence committee. Can you tell us where the committee might be in its investigation into Russian interference in the election. I don't wanna be obstreperous. But that that is exactly the kind of subject that we are barred from. But let me just give you might suspect that I can talk about publicly. I still believe there is much work to do on. What I believe is the central question, which are the issues surrounding followed the money issues, and I have said this since the very first day, we banged the gavel on this. And the reason I said that is that following the money, essentially, counterintelligence one on one if you wanna compromise somebody, you compromise them with money, and there's a lot of work that should be done, for example. And it ought to be done in a public hearing on the Moscow tower because Michael Cohen has already essentially admitted that he lied that the efforts with respect to the Moscow tower and Allred the news stories penthouses and went on well into that kind of run up to the two thousand sixteen election. So. I will tell you from my standpoint, there's lots of having lifting to do in the Senate intelligence committee on follow the money issues. And I believe that significant portion of that ought to be done in an open air. And lastly, the we might know more about all of this stuff through them more report. I imagine you believe that that report needs to be made public. I would pull out all the stops to make sure that report they're sensitive intelligence matters in you cannot ensure that those are not divulged that I'd go the floor of the United States Senate and push very hard to make sure that the truth gets the American people on the judiciary committee. There's bipartisan effort to promote that.

Coming up next