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Trump Officials Consider Defying Congress to Sell More Weapons to Saudi Arabia

“I have strong concerns about sending weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used to kill civilians in Yemen or perpetrate human rights abuses, and I’ve tried to block those sales from going forward,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Trump administration has disregarded every safeguard meant to prevent the abuses of American weapons, so it’s up to Congress to ensure strict adherence to these guidelines.”

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is moving to sell another cache of munitions to Saudi Arabia, according to lawmakers and congressional aides, a step that would again defy Congress and ignore the objections of lawmakers in both parties about Riyadh’s human rights record.

The State Department informally notified lawmakers in January that it was planning to move forward with the sale of precision-guided missiles worth $478 million to Saudi Arabia, and to approve licenses to allow Raytheon to expand its manufacturing footprint inside the kingdom. The top Democrats on the Senate and House foreign affairs committees have both withheld their support for the plan, effectively blocking it, but they fear State Department officials will push the sales through anyway.

Such a move would infuriate lawmakers in both parties, who have repeatedly objected to the United States continuing to supply Riyadh with weapons it has used in strikes on civilians since it began fighting a war in Yemen. Republicans and Democrats were enraged last year when the administration declared an emergency over Iran to bypass Congress and move forward with an $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations.

“I have strong concerns about sending weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used to kill civilians in Yemen or perpetrate human rights abuses, and I’ve tried to block those sales from going forward,” said Representative Eliot L. Engel of New York, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. “The Trump administration has disregarded every safeguard meant to prevent the abuses of American weapons, so it’s up to Congress to ensure strict adherence to these guidelines.” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/us/politics/congress-saudi-arabia-arms-sales.html?referringSource=articleShare

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