Graham: Saying ISIS is defeated in Syria is ‘fake news’

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamHillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars DOJ: Dem subpoena for Mueller report is 'premature and unnecessary' Dems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions MORE (R-S.C.) in a late-night speech from the Senate floor on Wednesday said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE declaring that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been defeated in Syria is "fake news."

"To those who say we have defeated ISIS in Syria, that is an inaccurate statement," Graham said after Trump's announcement Wednesday that he would be pulling troops out of the embattled nation. "They have been hurt, they have been degraded."

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"I give the president all the credit in the world for changing their policies regarding the fight against ISIS, but I will not buy into the narrative that they have been defeated," Graham said, adding that he had just returned from visiting with troops in Afghanistan. 

"To say they're defeated is an overstatement and is fake news," Graham added. "It is not true. They have been severely damaged, but they will come back unless we're there to stop them."

On Thursday, Graham took to Twitter to respond to a Trump tweet saying that "Russia, Iran, Syria & many others" are not happy about the U.S. leaving Syria.  

"It is not FAKE NEWS that Russia, Iran, and Assad are unhappy about our decision to withdraw from Syria," Graham tweeted. "They are ECSTATIC!"

 

Graham, a staunch Trump ally who sits on the Senate Armed Forces Committee, has been railing against the president's decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Syria since Trump made the announcement, calling the move an "Obama-like mistake" earlier in the day.

Reports have indicated that Trump is planning to "immediately" remove 2,000 troops for northern Syria.

The president in a tweet said ISIS has been "defeated" in Syria.

"This is a stain on the honor of the United States," Graham said. "I hope and pray the president will reconsider this. I know that every national security adviser understands that the time is not right to withdraw. If he does not decide to reconsider, then it will be incumbent upon the Congress to speak and hold him accountable."

Other top Republicans have joined Graham in denouncing the move, arguing that it could boost Russia's power in the Middle East and empower terrorist forces in Syria.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in a statement said the U.S. plans to start bringing troops home "as we transition to the next phase of this campaign."

Updated at 9:41 a.m.