In its lengthy response to the Senate on Monday, Saudi Arabia accused the lawmakers of making “unsubstantiated claims and allegations” and said it “categorically rejects any interference in its internal affairs, any and all accusations, in any manner, that disrespect its leadership, represented by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Prince, and any attempts to undermine its sovereignty or diminish its stature.”
The Saudi government used similar language during a flare-up in August with Canada, after the Canadian Foreign Ministry called for the release of an imprisoned Saudi women’s rights activist. Saudi Arabia announced that it was expelling the Canadian ambassador to Riyadh and halting new trade and investment deals.
Saudi officials did not announce any measures against the United States on Monday, and the statement took pains to praise the Trump administration. It said that “the Kingdom appreciates the prudent position taken by the United States Government and its institutions regarding recent developments.”
Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, was killed by Saudi government agents in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. A CIA assessment concluded the crown prince, who is the country’s effective ruler, had likely ordered and monitored the killing. The Saudi government has said it is investigating Khashoggi’s death, but its prosecutors have already absolved Mohammed of any responsibility.
The Senate’s rebuke of Mohammed went beyond the Khashoggi case, faulting him for contributing to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the continuing blockade of Qatar by Saudi Arabia and its allies, and the detention and torture of Saudi dissidents and activists, including a group of women’s rights advocates.
The Senate also approved a separate measure on Thursday to end U.S. participation in the Saudi-led war effort in Yemen.