The Trump administration is working to rally support in the Senate for its controversial high-dollar arms sale to the United Arab Emirates ahead of a vote to block that transfer.
President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, participated in a Senate Republican call Tuesday about the planned $23 billion sale of F-35 fighter jets, Reaper drones and munitions to the UAE, according to a Senate aide.
Senators of both parties have voiced various concerns about the sale – including the speed at which it is being pursued and its potential impact on human rights and broader regional security – and whether Congress was properly involved in the process.
CNN has previously reported on Kushner’s secret push to sell the weapons to the UAE, causing confusion and frustration among agencies and congressional committees that would normally be involved in such a sale but have been left in the dark. The President’s son-in-law also was a key figure in the Abraham Accords, the agreement to normalize relations between the UAE and Israel that paved the way for the proposed sale.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment.
Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, announced on Twitter last week that he, Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky had introduced a privileged resolution to block the sale.
That resolution is expected to be voted on this week. It is unclear if there is enough support for it to pass, but a Democratic aide told CNN that “the fact that the White House is doing such a full-court press suggests they are nervous about vote count.”
Even if the measure were to garner enough support in Congress, it would likely face a veto from Trump. The President vetoed several bipartisan measures passed by both chambers of Congress to curtail arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in July 2019.