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Biden Won’t Penalize Saudi Crown Prince Over Khashoggi’s Killing, Fearing Relations Breach

An effort by the Saudi government to issue a cover story, contending that Mr. Khashoggi had left the consulate unharmed, collapsed in days.

The Trump administration acted against 17 members of that team, imposing travel bans and other penalties. Mr. Biden, one official said, described the new sanctions the United States is imposing to King Salman, the crown prince’s father, in a phone call on Thursday that was only vaguely described in a White House account of the call.

But the king is 85 and in poor health, and it was unclear to administration officials how much he absorbed as Mr. Biden talked about a “recalibration” of the relationship with the United States.

In an effort to signal wider action against countries and officials who reach beyond their borders to repress dissent, Mr. Blinken is also adding a category of sanctions, a newly named “Khashoggi ban,” to restrict visas to anyone determined to be participating in state-sponsored efforts to harass, detain or harm dissidents and journalists around the world. In a statement, Mr. Blinken said 76 Saudis would be designated in the first tranche.

That review, officials said, would be part of the annual State Department human rights report. It is part of an effort, officials said, to create a new category of human rights abuses — one called “extraterritorial repression,” a growing issue as Russia, China and even allies like Turkey try to silence critics who are living in Europe, the United States or other free societies.

While the initial bans will apply to Saudis, officials said they would quickly be used around the world.

A few hours after the release of the report and the new sanctions, the Saudi government issued a blistering response. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia completely rejects the negative, false and unacceptable assessment in the report pertaining to the kingdom’s leadership, and notes that the report contained inaccurate information and conclusions,” it wrote.

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