Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Senate Fails to Override President Trump's Vetoes, Allowing Saudi Arms Sales


The Senate votes came as the House Oversight Committee released a report criticizing the Trump administration over its apparent willingness to allow the president’s friends and allies undue influence over U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia.
New documents obtained by the committee “raise serious questions about whether the White House is willing to place the potential profits of the president’s friends above the national security of the American people and the universal objective of preventing the spread of nuclear weapons,” the report said.
The report “exposes how corporate and foreign interests are using their unique access to advocate for the transfer of U.S. nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, the panel’s Democratic chairman.
The 50-page Oversight report, released Monday, says Trump’s longtime personal friend, campaign donor and inaugural chairman, Tom Barrack, negotiated directly with Trump and other White House officials to seek positions within the administration, including special envoy to the Middle East and ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.
At the same time, Barrack was promoting the interests of U.S. corporations seeking to profit from the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia; advocating on behalf of foreign interests seeking to obtain U.S. nuclear technology; and taking steps for his own company, Colony NorthStar, to profit from the proposals, the report said.
One of the companies leading an effort to build nuclear plants in Saudi Arabia, IP3 International, repeatedly pressed the Trump administration not to require Saudi Arabia to commit to a rigorous “gold standard” in any agreement with the U.S., complaining it would lock them out of lucrative nuclear contracts, the report said.
IP3 officials had “unprecedented access” to the highest levels of the Trump administration, including meetings with Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Cabinet Secretaries Rick Perry, Steven Mnuchin, Mike Pompeo, Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and Wilbur Ross, the report said.
The report also criticized the White House for refusing to produce any documents in the investigation and said communications obtained from outside sources indicate that Kushner and other officials used personal email or text accounts to communicate about Saudi-related deals.

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