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In a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday, several senators triggered an investigation and potential sanctions over the disappearance of Saudi journalist and Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.
The act would allow the president to impose sanctions on Saudi government officials if the investigation determines that Khashoggi's disappearance is a "gross violation of internationally recognized human rights" at the hands of the government.
Khashoggi, a critic of the Saudi royal family, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Turkish officials have claimed that Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents working under royal orders.
The senators — Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. — said in the letter that Trump should consider any relevant information in the investigation "including with respect to the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia."
Corker said he believes that the investigation will pressure the White House to take action in response to Khashoggi's disappearance.
Earlier on Wednesday, Graham said that "there would be hell to pay" if Khashoggi was killed by the Saudi government. "If this man was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, that would cross every line of normality in the international community," he said.