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Sen. Johnson says Saudi-U.S. relationship could be damaged by journalist murder

Mitch Reynolds

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The international outrage over the apparent death of one journalist possibly at the hands of the Saudi Arabian government has simmered for days now.

Johnson

Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, in a Thursday afternoon interview on WIZM, said that indignation is justified owing to the horrific nature of the killing and potential dismemberment Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Johnson called it horrific — worse than some of the stuff the Russians pull.

“Russia, at least, does it on other people’s foreign soil,” Johnson said. “I know it’s one person, but it’s just horrific. It’s a real deviation from acceptable norms.”

Johnson, who is the Republican chair of Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, believes the killing of Khashoggi could have a negative impact on the alliance between the Saudi and U.S. governments.

If the allegations of an official assassination by the Saudi government of Khashoggi prove true, Johnson said there’s bound to be something that changes in the alliance between the two countries.

“We need to recognize Saudi Arabia as an incredibly important ally in that region, as a counter balance to Iran,” Johnson said. “But, you know, if this all pans out, and what appears happened is born out to be truth in the investigation, that will change our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

Johnson’s comments come the day after the Washington Post printed Khashoggi’s final op-ed for the publication — something the Saudi government critic wrote just before his apparent killing.

“This is so brazen, this is so outside of acceptable norms,” Johnson said of the incident. “And, let’s face it, the Saudis do a lot of things outside of American sensible norms. But this in particular, this is really unbelievably brazen.”