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After Khashoggi Murder, Feds OK'd Saudi Nuclear Permits

Sen. Tim Kaine slams 'eagerness to give Saudis anything they want'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2019 5:06 AM CDT
In this March 20, 2018 photo, President Trump shows a chart highlighting arms sales to Saudi Arabia during a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House,...   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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(Newser) – Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine cried foul Tuesday after learning that the Trump administration approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia on two occasions after the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. The Department of Energy informed the Senate on Tuesday that licenses to export the sensitive technology were approved on Oct. 16—18 days after the Virginia resident was killed—and again on Feb. 18, the Guardian reports. Five transfers were approved before Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. American intelligence officials believe the killing was ordered by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Kaine complained that it had taken the administration more than two months to answer the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's request for information on the timing of the transfers. Trump's "eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan congressional objection, harms American national security interests," he said in a statement. Republican Sens. Todd Young and Marco Rubio, together with Kaine and Democratic Sen. Edward Markey, have introduced a bill that would require the federal government to allow Congress to review all transfers of nuclear technology in advance, reports NBC. Senators are also planning a bipartisan effort to block 22 Saudi arms deals the administration is trying to push through without congressional approval, the Washington Post reports. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)

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