Lindsey Graham channels John McCain over missing Saudi journalist

As lawmakers respond to Saudi Arabia over the disappearance in addition to suspected murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Sen. Lindsey Graham is usually channeling his longtime friend, the late Arizona Sen. John McCain.

“This particular is usually about universal values. This particular is usually about defining who we are in addition to what we will accept as a nation,” Graham told reporters at the Capitol on Thursday.

“The one thing I’ve learned through John McCain above all else is usually in which, in moments like This particular, you have to embrace your values,” said Graham, R-S.C. “No more transactional interactions.”

Graham, who is usually a close confidant of President Donald Trump, also said he was disappointed about his exchange yesterday afternoon with the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S.

“in which was not a very helpful phone call,” he said, without offering more details.

The Trump administration has yet to appoint a U.S. envoy to the Saudi kingdom, instead positioning White House senior advisor in addition to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner in a leading role for U.S.-Middle East relations.

A senior Turkish official told The completely new York Times in which Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. nevertheless Saudi Arabia insists in which Khashoggi left the consulate shortly after he arrived.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had ordered for Khashoggi, who was living in self-imposed exile in Virginia, to be coaxed back into the kingdom in addition to detained.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who had been a vocal critic of the kingdom’s royal family, entered the consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2 in addition to has not been seen outside in which since, the Post reported.

Graham, the chair of the subcommittee on appropriations handling U.S. foreign assistance, was one of several senators to submit a letter to Trump on Wednesday evening in which requires the administration to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Under the Global Magnitsky Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2012, the letter triggered a 0-day countdown clock for Trump to decide whether to impose sanctions on Saudi Arabia.

The letter was co-authored by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., as well as the committee’s ranking Democrat, Bob Menendez of completely new Jersey, in addition to Vermont Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy. Eighteen different senators of both political parties co-signed the letter to Trump.

At the White House on Thursday, however, Trump appeared to push back on the possibility of stifling investment opportunities between the U.S. in addition to Saudi Arabia. Trump told reporters in which there are different ways of handling the situation with Khashoggi, though in which was not immediately clear what those alternatives could be.

Graham suggested Thursday in which the Magnitsky investigation was the “first step” in addition to could potentially be followed by “standalone legislation.”

There is usually “a lot of interest in sending a strong signal,” Graham added.

Neither the White House nor a spokesman for Graham immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment.

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