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Pelosi Remarks at Bipartisan Press Freedom Event Marking 100 Days Since Death of Jamal Khashoggi

January 11, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers for a press freedom event to mark 100 days since the death of Washington Post reporter, Jamal Khashoggi.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much Chairman Schiff, I was waiting to hear what you had to say here.

[Laughter]

Thank you for being such a force and bringing us together to do what we should do as Members of Congress.  In a bipartisan way, in a bicameral way, not only to remember Jamal Khashoggi, but to act upon the concern that we have.

The murder of Khashoggi is an atrocity and an affront to humanity.

Days after his disappearance, Members of Congress – both sides of the aisle, both sides of Congress – demanded information and dedicated ourselves to holding the perpetrators accountable.

I know that our distinguished Chairman of the Intelligence Committee – of the Intelligence Committee on the Senate side and other Members – I could go on and on.  Senator Van Hollen.  I know they have all been acknowledged.  I thank you for using voices in this way.  There were some in our country who were saying that commercial interests should override our values and how we speak out upon those values.

I am grateful to leaders, again, on both sides of the aisle, Adam Schiff and Steve Chabot, also Lawrence Wright, Fred Ryan, and Karen Attiah and Jennifer Egan was here – I’ve known her since she was a little girl, so proud of her and welcome her to the Captiol.

So, 100 days.  100 days since Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.  We mourn and pray.  We will pray for his family and commit ourselves to action.  We must honor our moral responsibility to safeguard the lives and liberties of journalists both at home and abroad.And if we decide that commercial interests should override the statements that we make and the actions that we take, we must admit that we have no moral authority to talk about moral atrocities anymore, anytime.

We must carry on Khashoggi’s mission to defend the free press, our strongest bulwark against injustice.  I always say that the free press, and all of our freedoms in our country – the freedom of press is the guardian of the gate.

Whatever other violations the government or others may exert – if the press can talk about it, freedom exists.  The assault on Khashoggi was an assault on our democratic principles and our democracy, really, and we in America have to stand up very strongly so the rest of the world sees that regardless of the commercial transactions, whatever they may be, or even strategic location, is not a license to a kill – not a license to kill.

[Applause]

It is quite an emotional time for all of us – every day is, because of the act that took place – the nature of the atrocity is really outside the circle of civilized human behavior and the target of just an individual for the principle of free speech.

Thank you to all of you.  We won’t forget and we will come together for as long as it takes until there is justice, and now the message is very clear to the world that in this country, the United States of America, our first Amendment to the Constitution, the freedom of the press, is a flame that we will keep burning.