Senator: Trump threatens Iran to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia
May 23, 2019 - 9:48 AM
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump's administration plans to use a legal loophole as well as escalating tensions with Iran to sell bombs to Saudi Arabia, US Senator Chris Murphy said on Wednesday, although Congress has halted sales for months over fears of civilian deaths in the war in Yemen.
"I have grown to hear that Trump may use a vague loophole in the Arms Sales Limitation Act to launch the sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they receive on Yemen) in a way that does not allow Congress to object," the senator warned on Twitter. This may happen this week. "
Congressional aides said items in the Arms Sales Limitation Act, which sets the rules for international arms transactions, allow the president to approve a sale without returning to Congress in a state of national emergency.
In this case, the Republican president will talk about growing tensions with Iran as a reason to provide more military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which he considers an important partner of Washington in the region. Trump described arms sales to Saudis as a way to create jobs for Americans.
Trump has already declared a national emergency because of the flow of immigrants to bypass Congress and get $ 6 billion to build its wall along the Mexican border. Democrats and Republicans voted in favor of blocking the move, forcing Trump to use his first veto.
It was not clear what equipment would be sold to Saudi Arabia or when the operations could go ahead.
However, any such plan will face resistance in Congress, from Republicans and Democrats like Murphy, and even in the Senate, where Republicans have a slim majority.