Senate Foreign Relations Committee leaders Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., sent a letter to President Donald Trump demanding he address whether Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The letter, sent Tuesday evening, came hours after Trump declared in a statement filled with exclamation points that the U.S. would stand with Saudi Arabia as a crucial economic and national security ally, despite the kingdom's admission that Khashoggi had been killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2.
"In light of recent developments," Corker and Menendez wrote in the letter, "we request that your determination specifically address whether Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman is responsible for Mr. Khashoggi's murder."
While multiple outlets reported that the CIA concluded with high confidence that the crown prince was directly involved in the decision to kill Khashoggi, Trump himself cast doubt in his statement: "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!"
Sending the letter itself triggers an investigation under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, which was signed into law during the Obama administration in 2012. Corker and Menendez note in the letter that if the president receives the request, he is required to "determine whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression" within 120 days.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.