President Donald Trump's continuing arms deals with Saudi Arabia following the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — which the CIA concluded was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman — has caused criticism from both Democrats and Republicans. As The Inquisitr reported, even Senator Lindsey Graham, typically unwavering in his support of Trump, spoke out against a proposed arms deal between the U.S. and the desert country.
Politico wrote that Democratic Senator Tim Kaine now says the Trump administration has approved the transfer of nuclear technical expertise to Saudi Arabia seven times. Not only that, but two of these instances took place following Khashoggi's assassination — once on October 18, 2018, and the second time on February 18 of this year.
"President Trump's eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan congressional objection, harms American national security interests and is one of many steps the administration is taking that is fueling a dangerous escalation of tension in the region."As The Inquisitr reported, last week Trump invoked a rarely-used provision of American arms control laws to pave the way to authorize billions of dollars in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, without congressional approval. Regarding Trump's support of Saudi Arabia, The Los Angeles Times reports that a bipartisan group of senators is aiming to introduce 22 resolutions of disapproval in response to Trump's move. Included in this group are Senator Bob Menendez — who said the U.S. is "granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia" — Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Graham.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claims that the Trump administration's sidestep of Congress was in response to Iran's "malign activities" in the region. He said that the sales "must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East."
But Paul previously said he believes that the recent focus on a threat from Iran — in particular, the mobilization of U.S. combat troops as a response to this perception — is due to national security adviser John Bolton. As The Inquisitr reported, Paul believes he is a "malignant influence."
"I fear that he's a malignancy, a malignant influence on the administration."The Kentucky senator also suggests that Iran's activities are a response to the increased U.S. presence in the Middle East, implying these activities could be considered defensive measures — not offensive ones.
"Iran knows you don't start a war with the United States," he added.