(CNSNews.com) – Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told CNN’s “State of the Union With Jake Tapper” on Sunday that he doesn’t believe the Saudis’ version of what happened slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
“Saudi's got a lot of explaining to do, and I think everything should be on the table. The intel that I have read is obviously not as exhaustive as the intel that the president sees, but I think the cover stories from the Saudis are a mess. You don't bring a bone saw to an accidental fistfight inside an embassy in Turkey -- or a consulate in Turkey. So the Saudis have said a whole bunch of crap that's not right, accurate or true,” he said.
The Saudi government said on Friday that Khashoggi accidentally died in the Saudi consulate as the result of an altercation with Saudi officials, which turned into a brawl.
CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Sasse for his opinion on how to respond to the Saudis. He said, “President Trump seems to think U.S. jobs and profits through the tens of billions of dollars of arms deals with the Saudi Arabians, are a clear reason to moderate the U.S. response.”
Tapper also quoted Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) who said, “There isn't enough money in the world to purchase back our credibility on human rights and the way nations could conduct themselves."
“Where do you come down?” Tapper asked.
“Yes, I think that's well said by Marco. So, we need to recognize that arms sales are always means to an end. They're not the end. The end is the American idea, and the end is stability in the world so that problems abroad don't come home to roost for us,” Sasse said.
“So, we don't do arm sales for the purposes of the profits from arms sales. We do arms sales because we want to be allied with different countries around the globe that believe in our values and have a long-term sense of what we're up to together and why we have that alliance,” he added.
Sasse, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the United States needs to have “some shared principles about what we're trying to get done” if it allies with Saudi Arabia “in particular ways.”
“Policies flow from that. Arm sales are one policy. They're a means. They're not an end,” he said.