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WorldTrump’s arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia to face their first test in Congress

04:45  12 june  2019
04:45  12 june  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Senator: Trump admin approved sharing nuclear tech with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi killing

Senator: Trump admin approved sharing nuclear tech with Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi killing The Trump administration approved sending unclassified nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia twice after the death of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Democratic senator said Tuesday.One of the approvals came Oct. 18, 2018, 16 days after Khashoggi was killed, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said in a statement after seeing the approvals. The second came Feb. 18, 2019, he said."It has taken the Trump administration more than two months to answer a simple question-when did you approve transfers of nuclear expertise from American companies to Saudi Arabia? And the answer is shocking," Kaine said.

In particular, Trump and Congress have been at odds over the president’ s unapologetic embrace of Saudi leaders, despite U. S . intelligence Lawmakers anticipated that the Trump administration might try to push through arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia , in light of increased tensions with Iran.

In particular, Trump and Congress have been at odds over the president' s unapologetic embrace of Saudi leaders, despite U. S . intelligence Lawmakers anticipated that the Trump administration might try to push through arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia , in light of increased tensions with Iran.

Trump’s arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia to face their first test in Congress© Marcos Brindicci/Reuters President Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend the G20 summit in Buenos Aires in November 2018.

House Democrats on Wednesday will launch their bid to block the Trump administration from completing 22 arms deals largely benefiting Saudi Arabia, but hurdles in the Senate and expected veto threats could undermine a bipartisan effort to prevent the president from completing the deal in defiance of Congress.

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee are expected to unveil four resolutions of disapproval Wednesday, each designed to push back on elements of President Trump’s plan to conclude the arms deals via an emergency executive order. One resolution aims to block all 22 deals, while the other three specifically address the sale and production of precision-guided munitions to and within Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Senate planning bipartisan effort to block Trump’s emergency arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia

Senate planning bipartisan effort to block Trump’s emergency arms deals benefiting Saudi Arabia The move comes as Sen. Tim Kaine, citing the Department of Energy, announced that the administration had approved two secret deals to transfer nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Menendez and Graham’s plans, for which they expect to enlist more bipartisan support, come as details emerge regarding seven secret nuclear technology transfers the Trump administration approved for Saudi Arabia — two of them following Khashoggi’s death. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), citing information from the Department of Energy, announced Tuesday that the Trump administration had allowed U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo notified lawmakers Friday that President Donald Trump is invoking his emergency authority to sidestep Congress and complete 22 arms deals worth approximately billion that would benefit Saudi Arabia , the United Arab Emirates, and other countries

If Trump succeeds in getting around Congress , these weapons sales will prolong suffering in The two senators agree on one thing: that Saudi Arabia should face more scrutiny of its actions in In their latest effort to stop the weapons sales, congressional critics of the war will likely need to secure

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Many lawmakers oppose the proposed sales, particularly those that benefit Saudi Arabia, a country to which bipartisan majorities in Congress have sought to restrict arms transfers and military aid over the kingdom’s intervention in Yemen’s civil war and its leaders’ suspected role in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. But still more lawmakers have bristled at the administration’s tactic of claiming a blanket, nonspecific emergency to justify the move, objecting to it as an executive power grab of Congress’s traditional right to raise objections to such transactions.

The House proposal is a twist on the strategy that Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), one of President Trump’s most vocal critics, and Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), one of his closest allies, spearheaded last week to block the deals using 22 unique resolutions that, under normal circumstances, would be guaranteed floor votes. But while such votes are all but guaranteed in the Democrat-controlled House, in the GOP-led Senate, critics of Trump’s arms deals are bracing for a struggle — and preparing alternate options in case their first attempt fails.

Republican, Democratic senators seek to block Trump Saudi arms sales

Republican, Democratic senators seek to block Trump Saudi arms sales The senators said they would introduce 22 separate joint resolutions.

President Donald Trump ' s administration has increasingly kept Congress in the dark on its dealings with Saudi Arabia in recent months, infuriating Last month, Trump officials stunned Congress when they issued a national emergency declaration to bypass legislative oversight for 22 separate arms

"Today, acting in accordance with the authority granted to us by Congress , I made a determination under the Arms Export Control Act to formally notify Congress of 22 arms sales to Jordan, Saudi Arabia , and the UAE. These directly protect U. S . citizens and our partners," tweeted US Secretary of

Menendez is expected to request a vote on the Senate’s 22 disapproval measures early next week. But Republicans may challenge him — leaving it to the Senate parliamentarian to act as referee. The parliamentarian determines how the Senate’s rules should be applied, and is often called upon to settle procedural disputes between lawmakers.

“We’ll see how the parliamentarian rules,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman James E. Risch (R-Idaho), noting that “I suspect someone will ask” the parliamentarian to determine whether the measures should get a vote.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday surmised there “would still be a vote triggered,” and “presumably it’ll be very similar to the resolution of disapproval under a more traditional approach — at least that’s what we think the parliamentarian believes.”

But McConnell pledged to oppose efforts to block Trump’s move, “voting against the resolution of disapproval and for sustaining the veto when it comes to that.”

State Dept. official ousted after assisting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE: report

State Dept. official ousted after assisting arms sales to Saudi Arabia, UAE: report A senior State Department official left the Trump administration after helping develop a plan that steered billions of dollars to the defense firm he once lobbied for, according to the Wall Street Journal.Charles Faulkner, a former lobbyist for Raytheon Co., was part of a move by the Trump administration to bypass congressional review and fast-track $8 billion in arms sales to the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, according to the WSJ, citing current and former U.S. officials. Faulkner left his post as a deputy assistant secretary at the State Department after playing a role in efforts leading to the emergency declaration, according to the newspaper.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has been an important strategic partner of the United States since A critical first step is establishing the facts. The Saudi government should issue a comprehensive Further sanctions followed, including economic ones imposed by Congress and supported by the

Trump - Saudi relationship tested . The U. S . remains the world' s largest weapons exporter, a position it has held Mr. Trump has dismissed the idea of suspending weapons sales to Saudi Arabia to punish its crown Under the first year of the Trump administration, sales of bombs and missiles dominated.

At present, more than 50 senators are expected to vote for the 22 resolutions to block the president, including four Republicans: Sens. Graham, Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah). While that is enough to pass the resolutions, it is not clear that enough Republicans will join the effort to secure the two-thirds majority it takes to overcome a presidential veto.

Should efforts fail to build a veto-proof coalition around that approach, Young and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) have proposed another, which would give lawmakers the chance to block the arms sales after requesting information on the human rights record of the recipient countries.

But that would take several weeks, due to the time allotted for the administration to respond to the human rights query — making it an unlikely option before lawmakers depart Washington for an August recess, according to congressional aides, and subject to the same potential veto as the 22 resolutions.

Opponents of the sales also are plotting ways to amend a prohibition on the arms sales into must-pass measures, such as the annual defense authorization bill, or appropriations measures currently working their way through Congress. But Republican leaders are firmly opposed to such an approach, favoring independent legislation.

Dem, GOP senators want to check Trump's power to sell arms to Saudis

Dem, GOP senators want to check Trump's power to sell arms to Saudis Sens. Murphy and Young want a resolution that would let Congress vote on last month's arms deal and block or restrict future weapons sales to Saudi Arabia.

The Trump administration informed congressional committees that it will go ahead with 22 military Members of Congress had been blocking sales of offensive military equipment to Saudi Arabia and It is not the first time Congress and Trump have clashed over policy in the region, or the division of

President Donald Trump signed a nearly 0 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia ' s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Saturday, signaling the United States' renewed commitment to its alliance with the Gulf kingdom and desire to bolster its counterterrorism partnership.

“I’m doing my best to negotiate a bill that can pass both the House and Senate and be signed by the president,” Risch said Tuesday. “There are ongoing negotiations among all parties, State Department and all others to try to reach an agreement on this.”

But thus far, senior State Department officials have been unrepentant about circumventing Congress to complete the sales.

“These sales and the associated emergency certification are intended to address the military need of our partners in the face of an urgent regional threat posed by Iran,” R. Clarke Cooper, assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, is expected to tell the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday, according to prepared remarks. “Remaining a reliable security partner to our allies and friends around the world is also in the interest and furtherance of our values.”

When asked Tuesday whether the administration was wise to force the arms deals through by emergency declaration, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan was more tight-lipped.

“It’s always best to follow the process,” he said.

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Emily Davies, Hailey Fuchs and Missy Ryan contributed to this report.

Read More

Senate to vote Thursday on whether to block Trump Saudi arms sale plan.
The U.S. Senate will vote on Thursday on legislation seeking to block President Donald Trump's plan to sidestep congressional review and go ahead with more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced an agreement to hold the vote on Wednesday, after a group of lawmakers, including some of Trump's fellow Republicans, filed 22 separate resolutions of disapproval objecting to the deals. Lawmakers objected to Trump's decision to declare an emergency tied to threats from Iran in order to go ahead with the military sales despite congressional objections.

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