Pelosi draws link between Flynn, Trump decision on Syria

House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' MORE's decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria, and raised concerns that the timing of the announcement coincided with new developments in the legal proceedings for former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“It is premature for the President to declare a sweeping victory against ISIS when, just a few weeks ago, our military led more than 250 coalition-conducted airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria," Pelosi said in a statement.

"All Americans should be concerned that this hasty announcement was made on the day after sentencing in criminal proceedings began against the President’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who admitted that he was a registered foreign agent for a country with clear interests in the Syrian conflict," she added.


Flynn has admitted he failed to register as a foreign agent for the Turkish government as part of a plea deal with special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSchiff: Trump acquittal in Senate trial would not signal a 'failure' Jeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay MORE. Flynn was scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday, but the action was postponed.

The delay came in part because Flynn's attorneys indicated the retired general would have to testify in the case of two of his former associates, who are accused of conducting a secret lobbying campaign on behalf of the Turkish government, according to an indictment unsealed this week.

Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan threatened to launch a new assault against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces in Syria.

U.S. support for the Kurds has been a major point of tension in U.S.-Turkey relations, as the NATO ally views the Syrian Kurdish forces as a terrorist group.

Pelosi, who is expected to be elected Speaker when the next session of Congress convenes in January, pledged that House Democrats would use their newly won majority to conduct oversight on Trump's strategy in Syria.

"The American people deserve a smart, strong and strategic Syria policy that keeps America safe, protects our interests and advances peace in the region," she said.

Trump has not explicitly commented on the decision to withdraw troops, but tweeted Wednesday morning, "We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there."

The announcement appeared to catch U.S. lawmakers and international allies off guard. Republicans expressed frustration with the decision, calling it a mistake and lamenting that there seemed to be little communication about the strategy ahead of time.

Russia, which unlike the U.S. backs the Syrian government in its long-running civil war, applauded Trump's decision.