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Senators Take Aim At Massive Trump Arms Deal

A bipartisan group of senators will attempt to block part of President Donald Trump’s massive weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates this week, two sources with knowledge of their plans told HuffPost.

The group includes Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which suggests the plan will receive broad support from Democrats in the upper chamber. His co-sponsors for the bill, a resolution of disapproval targeting $10 billion in munitions that Trump wants to send to the Arab nation, are Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.)

The sale of the munitions is one element of a gigantic $23 billion package for the U.A.E. that the Trump administration introduced after the country recognized Israel earlier this year in what Trump and his aides portrayed as a major diplomatic win for him in the Middle East. The other portions of the deal are F-35 fighter jets and armed drones ― major advanced systems that the U.A.E. does not presently have.

Critics of the U.A.E. say the arms sales risk inflaming tensions in the volatile region, where the Emirates is deeply involved in proxy wars in Libya and Yemen.

Many lawmakers from both parties have also been skeptical of Trump’s penchant for pushing major weapons deals with autocratic Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, while overlooking their human rights abuses and Congress’ authority over such sales.

Spokespeople for Menendez, Murphy and Paul did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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