Democrats warn Trump's Turkey sanctions don't go far enough

Democrats warn Trump's Turkey sanctions don't go far enough
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats quickly signaled on Monday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump opens new line of impeachment attack for Democrats Bloomberg to spend 0M on anti-Trump ads in battleground states New witness claims first-hand account of Trump's push for Ukraine probes MORE's decision to slap new financial penalties on Turkey won't be enough to quash backlash over the administration's Syria policy. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action MORE (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number America's avengers deserve an advocate Democrats unifying against Joe Kennedy Senate bid MORE (D-R.I.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezGraham blocks resolution recognizing Armenian genocide after Erdoğan meeting Trump encounters GOP resistance to investigating Hunter Biden Fairness, tradition, and the Constitution demand the 'whistleblower' step forward MORE (D-N.J.) — the top Democrats on the Senate Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, respectively — urged Republicans to support a resolution asking Trump to reverse his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. 

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"Strong sanctions, while good and justified, will not be sufficient in undoing that damage nor will it stop the consequences stemming from the ISIS jailbreak," they said in an apparent reference to reports that some ISIS fighters had broken out of prisons in the wake of Turkey's military invasion.  

"The first step when Congress returns to session this week is for Republicans to join with us in passing a resolution making clear that both parties are demanding the president’s decision be reversed," they added. 

After days of mulling new sanctions against Ankara, Trump announced new financial penalties and travel restrictions that would target Turkish officials involved in human rights abuses or “threatening the peace, security or stability in Syria.”

But Democrats quickly signaled that the action won't be enough to stop the push on Capitol Hill for additional legislation. In addition to a sanctions package, lawmakers are also discussing a resolution that would formally oppose Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops and call on him to reverse course. 

"President Trump should use this moment to step up, do the right thing, and correct course. He can listen to his national security and military advisors, and to the chorus of bipartisan voices in Congress and across the world who made it clear that this was a grave mistake worth reversing," Schumer, Reed and Menendez added.  

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) added in a tweet that "sanctions are a necessary step—as long as they are stringent & swift—but more must be done to help repair the broken promises & shattered lives caused by Trump’s reckless & senseless betrayals." 

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: Trump tweets on Yovanovitch show his 'insecurity as an imposter' On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Overnight Defense: Ex-Ukraine ambassador offers dramatic day of testimony | Talks of 'crisis' at State Department | Trump tweets criticism of envoy during hearing | Dems warn against 'witness intimidation' | Trump defends his 'freedom of speech' MORE (D-Calif.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGOP eager for report on alleged FBI surveillance abuse Johnson opens door to subpoenaing whistleblower, Schiff, Bidens Overnight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families MORE (R-S.C.), a close Trump ally who has been critical of his Syria decision, spoke before the president's announcement about the need for a sanctions package and the separate resolution opposing the administration's strategy.  

Asked if Trump’s statement scuttled the need for additional legislation, a Democratic leadership aide added that “we have no details beyond a vague statement. Regardless, there is significant bipartisan interest in advancing a legislative sanctions package.”