Jul 29, 2019

Senate fails to override Trump veto of ban on Saudi weapon sales

Trump and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Senate on Monday failed to override President Trump's veto of three resolutions seeking to block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, falling 22 votes short of the necessary two-thirds majority.

Why it matters: The initial passage of the resolutions marked yet another bipartisan rebuke of the administration's close relationship with Saudi Arabia, which has come under increased scrutiny in the months since the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of the Saudi government. Trump, in vetoing the resolutions, argued that they "would weaken America's global competitiveness and damage the important relationships we share with our allies and partners."

The big picture: In May, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that Trump would invoke an emergency provision allowing him to bypass Congress to sell nearly $8 billion worth of weapons — prompting fury from senators on both sides of the aisle. The failure of the Senate to override Trump's vetoes leaves Congress with little recourse for influencing the administration's controversial relationship with Saudi Arabia.

Go deeper: Trump replenishes Saudi arsenal by vetoing arms sale blocks

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Khashoggi killing: Judge orders federal agencies release records

Journalist Jamal Khashoggi at an event in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018. Photo: Omar Shagaleh/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

A judge in New York ordered federal agencies Tuesday to urgently release thousands of pages of documents related to the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey, AP reports.

Why it matters: President Trump and members of his administration including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly stood by the Saudis after Khashoggi's death last year, despite the CIA's assessment that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder.

Go deeperArrowAug 7, 2019

Report: Trump associate leveraged White House ties to push Saudi nuclear plan

Tom Barrack. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images

A report from the House Oversight Committee released Monday found that Trump associate Tom Barrack sought powerful positions in the administration at the same time he was promoting U.S. corporate and foreign interests that would benefit from the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia.

What we know: Barrack is a successful businessman who oversaw Trump's inaugural committee and has significant real estate dealings in the Gulf region, including with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The report states that "private parties with close ties to the President wield[ed] outsized influence over U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia," naming Barrack as "one of the key individuals leveraging his close ties to President Trump and the Administration to promote his own interests."

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

Report: Saudi Aramco selects advisers for its IPO revival

The Saudi Aramco oil field complex facilities at Shaybah in the Rub' al Khali. Photo: Reza/Getty Images

Saudi Aramco is selecting advisers to try to move forward on its on-again, off-again, on-again plans for a mammoth IPO, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: The listing of a slice of Aramco could be the largest IPO in history, and the proceeds are meant to help fund the kingdom's plans to diversify its crude-dominated economy.

Go deeperArrowAug 20, 2019