President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, personally intervened in a $US110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia to get them a better deal, The New York Times reported.
US officials say the Trump administration plans to announce $US110 billion in advanced military equipment sales and training to Saudi Arabia this weekend when Trump visits the country.
The package includes tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications and cybersecurity technology. The announcement is expected Saturday. Officials providing details were not authorised to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Much of the package builds on commitments made before Trump took office.
The Times reported that Kushner personally called the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, Marillyn A. Hewson, to get the Saudis a better price on a sophisticated radar system that can shoot down ballistic missiles.
“As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it,” officials told the Times. While Kushner’s intervention was unusual, it was not technically illegal.
Separately on Friday, the administration informed Congress it will sell some $US500 million in precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia.
The State Department says the munitions will improve Saudi targeting ability, particularly in Yemen where it has been criticised for civilian deaths in its fight against Iranian-backed rebels.
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