Ahead of the New York presidential primary, both Democratic candidates are breaking with the Obama administration to declare their support for a bill that would allow Americans to sue the government of Saudi Arabia for any role it may have played in the 9/11 terror attacks.
Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both issued statements Sunday night expressing their support for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, authored by Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and co-sponsored by 22 bipartisan lawmakers. The legislation would enable victims of 9/11 and other attacks on U.S. soil to sue sovereign nations that supply material or other support for such acts of violence.
Sanders also went a step further, urging the Obama administration to “declassify the 28-page conclusion of the 9/11 Commission Report on the potential sources of foreign support received by the hijackers.”
Though he has access to the pages, Sanders told “CBS This Morning” on Monday that he hasn’t yet read them—nor will he, until they are publicly released.
“The difficulty is,” he explained, “you see then, if you read them, then you’re gonna ask me a question, you’re gonna say, ‘You read them, what’s in them?’ And now I can tell you honestly I have not.”
When pressed on Monday by a NBC reporter whether she has read the pages, former Secretary of State Clinton said she wouldn’t comment.
Asked twice if she's read the 28 classified pages, HRC says: "I'm not commenting" https://t.co/neAYAB1xMU
— Monica Alba (@albamonica) April 18, 2016
The White House, meanwhile, signaled on Monday that President Barack Obama would veto the legislation should it come to his desk. “Given the long list of concerns I have expressed…it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the president would sign the bill as it’s currently drafted,” said press secretary Josh Earnest at a briefing.
The New York Times reported over the weekend that Saudi officials have “told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom” should Congress pass the bill.
What’s more, The Hill notes that “[t]he fierce debate over the legislation has bubbled up at a precarious time for Obama, who is set to land in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to meet with King Salman.”