GOP senators press Trump to cut off nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON — A group of Republican senators led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is pressing the Trump administration to cut off civilian nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder.

In a letter to President Donald Trump obtained by NBC News, five senators say they had concerns about nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia even before Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. But they say his death has fueled further doubts about the kingdom's leadership.

"The ongoing revelations about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as well as certain Saudi actions related to Yemen and Lebanon, have raised further serious concerns about the transparency, accountability, and judgment of current decision makers in Saudi Arabia," the senators write. "We therefore request that you suspend any related negotiations for a U.S.-Saudi civil nuclear agreement for the foreseeable future."

The senators threatened to use an obscure provision in the Atomic Energy Act to block any U.S.-Saudi nuclear agreements if Trump does not heed their call. In addition to Rubio, the letter was signed by GOP Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Dean Heller of Nevada and Todd Young of Indiana.

There was no immediate response from the White House's National Security Council.

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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
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Demonstrators protest disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 12 : A group of people hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Safvan Allahverdi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People hold signs at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia during protest about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in Washington. Standing center is David Barrows with Code Pink, wearing a mask of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2018, file photo, people hold signs during a protest at the Embassy of Saudi Arabia about the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in Washington. The Trump administration’s ongoing courtship of Saudi Arabia is on pause over allegations that the key U.S. ally is involved in the mysterious disappearance of a Saudi writer and dissident who went into his nation’s consulate in Turkey but never came out. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File )
Activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding posters with photos of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, talk to members of the media, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. The poster reads in Turkish: ' Jamal Khashoggi, missing since October 2, 2018'. Khashoggi disappeared after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkish officials have alleged he was killed in the compound while Saudis officials said he left the building unharmed. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Photographers take pictures of an activist, a member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holding a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of he media cover a news announcement/protest by activists, members of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, in support of the missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
An activist, member of the Human Rights Association Istanbul branch, holds a poster with a photo of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, during a protest in his support near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018. Khashoggi disappeared a week ago after entering Saudi Arabia's consulate to obtain paperwork required for his marriage to his Turkish fiancee. Turkey said Tuesday it will search the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul as part of an investigation into the disappearance of a missing Saudi contributor to The Washington Post, a week after he vanished during a visit there. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 8, 2018 file photo, members of the Turkish-Arab Journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul. The disappearance of Khashoggi, during a visit to his country’s consulate in Istanbul last week, raises a dark question for anyone who dares criticize governments or speak out against those in power: Will the world have their back? (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist Association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018.Turkish officials have said they believe that the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was slain in "a preplanned murder" at the kingdom's consulate and that his body was later removed. Saudi officials have denied the allegations as baseless.(AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
Members of the Turkish-Arab journalist association hold posters with photos of missing Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi, as they hold a protest near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. Khashoggi, 59, went missing on Oct 2 while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials. He had been living since last year in the U.S. in a self-imposed exile, in part due to the rise of Prince Mohammed, the son of King Salman. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
CCTV cameras and a Saudi Arabian flag are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protesters hold a portrait of missing journalist and Riyadh critic Jamal Khashoggi reading 'Jamal Khashoggi is missing since October 2' during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 9, 2018 in Istanbul. - Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributor, vanished last on October 2 after entering the Saudi Arabian consulate to receive official documents ahead of his marriage to a Turkish woman. A Turkish government source told AFP at the weekend that the police believe the journalist 'was killed by a team especially sent to Istanbul and who left the same day'. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi are seen on Police fence during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official opens the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi official looks through the door of the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gestures as she waits to enter the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (C) holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi as she speaks to medias during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (C) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman (2nd L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman enters the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 8, 2018 during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Egyptian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L) speaks to media on missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 8: Representatives of non-governmental organization hold pictures of missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian Consulate General in Istanbul, Turkey on October 8, 2018. (Photo by Muhammed Enes Yildirim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Saudi woman gives her passport to a staff of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Media members work during a demonstration for missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Yemeni Tawakkol Karman (R), flanked by Egytian opposition politican Ayman Nour (L), speaks during a press conference as they hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: Media crowd around as people hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the outside Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 08: A man holds a poster during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to Saudi Arabia's consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Fears are growing over the fate of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi after Turkish officials said they believe he was murdered inside the Saudi consulate. Saudi consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self-imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - OCTOBER 05: People hold posters of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a protest organized by members of the Turkish-Arabic Media Association at the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials have said that missing writer and Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi went missing after leaving the consulate, however the statement directly contradicts other sources including Turkish officials who believe that the writer is still inside and being held by Saudi officials. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
A protestor holds a picture of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate, on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP) (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
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The Republican effort to limit U.S. cooperation with Saudi Arabia comes amid growing outrage over the killing of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and Saudi citizen who wrote critically of Saudi Arabia's government. Saudi Arabia's government insisted for weeks that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, then reversed course and admitted he died but said it resulted from a fistfight during a failed rendition attempt.

Last week Saudi Arabia changed its story again and acknowledged that the 15-man team sent to Istanbul had planned his killing in advance, citing information from Turkish authorities.

Bipartisan outrage has also been growing even before Khashoggi's killing about the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen's civil war. The coalition, which still receives support from the U.S. military, has been blamed for countless deaths of civilians in bombings on peaceful gatherings as well as for contributing to the country's harrowing humanitarian crisis.

In a sign of new willingness by Trump's administration to challenge the Saudis on the Yemen issue, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement late Tuesday that specifically called out the Saudi-led coalition. It said after Iran-backed Houthi rebels stop shooting missives into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, "coalition air strikes must cease in all populated areas in Yemen."

The Trump administration has been engaged in ongoing nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia all year aimed at striking a cooperation agreement, known as a "123 agreement," that would allow U.S. companies like Westinghouse build nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia. Billions of dollars are at stake for American companies. In February, Energy Secretary Rick Perry traveled to Riyadh to kick off the talks.

Under 123 agreements, nations can purchase nuclear technology and technical information from the United States. The United States already has a similar agreement with close Saudi ally the United Arab Emirates.

But there have been longstanding concerns about enabling the Saudis to conduct fuel-making activities that could eventually lead to the country developing nuclear weapons, fueling a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has balked at allowing restrictions on uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing as part of the deal, pointing out that its archenemy — Iran — was allowed to continue some of those activities under the separate Iran nuclear deal.

Trump withdrew the U.S. from that deal earlier this year.

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