Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria

Key senators warn Trump of North Korea effort on Syria
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Top GOP senators are pressing the Trump administration to respond to and stop North Korea from providing Syria with chemical weapons supplies.

Experts from the United Nations in February found that North Korea has been shipping Syria supplies that could be used to make chemical weapons, with at least 40 unreported shipments from Pyongyang to Damascus between 2012 and 2017.

In a letter, the senators “express our deep concern” regarding the U.N. report, which “exposes North Korean sanctions evasion involving Russia and China.” The letter is signed by Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynIt’s possible to protect national security without jeopardizing the economy Archivist rejects Democrats' demand for Kavanaugh documents Senate Judiciary announces Kavanaugh's confirmation hearing MORE (Texas) and Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzMellman: Two worlds — Online and off GOP pollster: Trump dominates political rivals vying for media attention Cruz challenger O'Rourke launching .27M TV ad buy focusing on 'positive' message MORE (Texas), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerSenate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report When it comes to drone tech, wildfire officials need the rights tools for the job Rubio slams Google over plans to unveil censored Chinese search engine MORE (Colo.), Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchTop Republicans concerned over impact of potential Trump drug rule The Hill's Morning Report — Trump to GOP: I will carry you Treasury releases proposed rules on major part of Trump tax law MORE (Utah), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (La.), Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEx-Virginia GOP Senate candidate shares offensive voicemail allegedly left by Charlottesville rally organizer Facebook cracks down on 3D guns Exclusive: Bannon blasts 'con artist' Kochs, 'lame duck' Ryan, 'diminished' Kelly MORE (Utah), Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyOvernight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns Top GOP candidate drops out of Ohio Senate race MORE (Pa.) and David Perdue (Ga.).

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The U.N. report found that North Korea supplied Syrian President Bashar Assad with known elements used in building chemical weapons factories, and North Korean technicians have been seen working at Syrian chemical weapons and missile facilities.

The lawmakers assert that the findings “demonstrate an elaborate and alarming military-venture between rogue, tyrannical states to avoid United States and international sanctions and inflict terror and death upon thousands of innocent people.”

“It is imperative that the United States provides a swift and appropriate response to the continued use of chemical weapons used by President Assad and his forces, and works to address the shortcomings in sanctions enforcement,” the senators add.

The lawmakers ask acting Secretary of State John Sullivan and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOmarosa book: Trump opposed replacing Andrew Jackson with Harriet Tubman on bill The Hill's Morning Report: Where the Mueller probe stands Treasury releases proposed rules on major part of Trump tax law MORE about further sanctions being considered against Pyongyang, Damascus or countries that act as accomplices “to increase pressure and halt the use of chemical weapons.”

They also want answers on the steps the State and Treasury departments are taking, along with the international community to prevent the two countries from continuing to sidestep current sanctions.

The letter also takes a swipe at the previous administration’s Syrian policy, calling former President Obama’s tough talk an “utter failure” and his actions “hollow.”

The letter comes after last week’s chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburb of Douma. The attack, reported to be chlorine gas and a nerve agent, killed at least 70, injured hundreds and has been blamed on Assad’s government.

President Trump is now weighing a response to the chemical attack. He and British Prime Minister Theresa May vowed in a phone call Thursday to deter further use of chemical weapons by Assad, but no decision has yet been made on how to do so.