Kushner called Lockheed CEO to get a better arms deal for Saudi Arabia

Kushner called Lockheed CEO to get a better arms deal for Saudi Arabia
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Biden celebrates start of Hanukkah Fauci says lies, threats are 'noise' MORE's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerBiden celebrates start of Hanukkah Kushner looking to Middle East for investors in new firm: report Watchdog finds no money has flowed out of agency tasked by Trump admin to fight pandemic MORE, personally called the CEO of Lockheed Martin during a meeting with a Saudi delegation earlier this month to ask her to cut the price of a missile defense system, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The call was part of Kushner's effort to secure a roughly $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia before Trump's scheduled trip to the kingdom on Friday. 

During the meeting with the delegation, Kushner determined that cost could prohibit the Saudis from purchasing a terminal high altitude area defense (THAAD) missile system, which is designed to shoot down intermediate-range ballistic missiles. 


So in an unorthodox move, Kushner phoned Marillyn Hewson, the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which manufactures THAAD systems, and asked her if her company could lower the cost of the anti-missile system. She reportedly told him she would look into it, according to the Times.

While unusual, the phone call does not appear to break any laws. Lockheed Martin is the only company that makes the anti-missile system, meaning that the contract would not be offered to another firm.

Similarly, in February Lockheed cut the cost of the F-35 fighter jet after weeks of pressure and scrutiny to do so by Trump.

Kushner has been tasked by his father-in-law with a sweeping portfolio of responsibilities. Among the undertakings on his list are heading a task force aimed at reforming the federal government, looking into criminal justice reform and pursuing peace in the Middle East.