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President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, personally intervened in a $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia to get the Saudis a better deal, The New York Times reported on Thursday.
US officials say the Trump administration planned to announce $110 billion in sales of advanced military equipment and training to Saudi Arabia this weekend when Trump visits the country.
The package includes tanks, combat ships, missile-defense systems, radar and communications and cybersecurity technology. The announcement is expected Saturday. Officials providing details were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Much of the package builds on commitments made before Trump took office.
The Times reported that Kushner personally called the CEO of Lockheed Martin, Marillyn A. Hewson, to get the Saudis a better price on a sophisticated radar system that can shoot down ballistic missiles.
“As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it,” officials told The Times. While Kushner’s intervention was unusual, it was not technically illegal.
Separately on Friday, the administration told Congress it would sell some $500 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia.
The State Department says the munitions will improve Saudi targeting ability, particularly in Yemen, where it has been criticized for civilian deaths in its fight against Iranian-backed rebels.