Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to US President Donald Trump, listens as Trump delivers remarks to auto industry executives at American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan on March 15, 2017.
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Story highlights

Kushner hoped to maneuver a discount with Lockheed

Ultimately, the two sides were able to reach an agreement

(CNN) —  

President Donald Trump signed a nearly $110 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.

The deal was finalized in part thanks to the direct involvement of Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser. He shocked a high-level Saudi delegation earlier this month when he personally called Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson and asked if she would cut the price of a sophisticated missile detection system, according to a source with knowledge of the call.

Pressured to finalize a massive $100-plus billion arms deal in the two weeks leading up to Trump’s trip to Saudi Arabia, Kushner hoped to maneuver a discount on Lockheed’s Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system during the Saudis’ visit to the White House on May 1 – a request that Hewson said she would look into at the time.

The New York Times first reported the exchange between Kushner and Hewson.

On Saturday, near the end of Trump’s first day in the kingdom, the two leaders inked a deal greenlighting a $109 billion defense deal, which Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said was a component of $350 billion in economic and defense investments between the two countries over the next 10 years.

Lockheed’s Hewson was on hand Saturday in the cavernous Riyadh ballroom where Trump and Salman made the deal official.

The company was “proud to be part of this historic announcement that will strengthen the relationship between” the US and Saudi Arabia,” Hewson said. The sales authorized under the deal would bolster Saudi Arabia’s security, provide an economic boon to both countries and “strengthen the cause of peace in the region,” she added.

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epa05985803 A handout picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis (L) posing with US President Donald J. Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, 24 May 2017. Trump is at the Vaican and in Italy on a two day visit, ahead of his participation in a NATO summit in Brussels on 25 May.  EPA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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epa05985803 A handout picture provided by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano shows Pope Francis (L) posing with US President Donald J. Trump on the occasion of their private audience, at the Vatican, 24 May 2017. Trump is at the Vaican and in Italy on a two day visit, ahead of his participation in a NATO summit in Brussels on 25 May. EPA/OSSERVATORE ROMANO/HANDOUT HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
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VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 29: Pope Francis waves to the faithful as he leaves St. Peter's Square at the the end of Palm Sunday Mass on March 29, 2015 in Vatican City, Vatican. On Palm Sunday Christians celebrate Jesus' arrival into Jerusalem, where he was put to death. It marks the official beginning of Holy Week during which Christians observe the death of Christ before celebrations begin on Easter. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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