Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill

Graham, Van Hollen introduce Turkey sanctions bill
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Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDemocrats hammer abuse of power charge, allege Trump put self over country Video becomes vital part of Democrats' case against Trump Nadler plays 1999 clip of Graham defining high crimes: 'It doesn't even have to be a crime' MORE (R-S.C.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van Hollen Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation Democrats shoot down talk of Bolton, Hunter Biden witness swap Schumer blasts GOP votes over witnesses, documents at trial MORE (D-Md.) formally introduced a bill on Thursday to slap additional sanctions on Turkey in the wake of Ankara's invasion of northern Syria.

The bill, according to details released by the two senators, would target Turkey's energy sector and military as well as assets of top Turkish officials within U.S. jurisdiction and limit their ability to travel to the United States.

Graham told reporters during a news conference that the proposed financial penalties were "wide-ranging and hard-hitting."


"We appreciate what the president did with sanctions against Turkey, we're here to add to it. To supplement what the president did," Graham said. "Congress is going to speak with a very firm singular voice that we will impose sanctions against the strongest measure possible." 

Van Hollen added in a statement that "we must move forward on these sanctions and apply real pressure to Turkey to end this madness.”

In addition to Graham and Van Hollen, the sanctions bill is being backed by 14 additional senators—evenly divided by Republicans and Democrats. 

In addition to applying sanctions against Turkey, the bill includes a formal sense of Congress opposing Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria. 

The sanctions legislation comes as lawmakers are weighing how to respond to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff pleads to Senate GOP: 'Right matters. And the truth matters.' Anita Hill to Iowa crowd: 'Statute of limitations' for Biden apology is 'up' Sen. Van Hollen releases documents from GAO investigation MORE's decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria, paving the way for the Turkish invasion.

Trump has left Republicans fuming over his decision. He sparked a new wave of outrage on Wednesday when he said the Kurds were "no angels."

It's unclear what, if any, legislation will get a vote on the Senate floor.

"We got the potential for Turkish sanctions, we're looking at that," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate Republicans confident they'll win fight on witnesses The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems to present case on abuse of power on trial's third day The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' MORE (R-Ky.) told reporters on Wednesday.

Even as Graham and Van Hollen were introducing their bill, Sens. Jim RischJames (Jim) Elroy RischMSNBC's Chris Hayes knocks senators for ducking out of impeachment trial: 'You can resign' Turkey: Russian air defense system no NATO threat Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-Idaho) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezMedia's selective outrage exposed in McSally-Raju kerfuffle Dem senators say Iran threat to embassies not mentioned in intelligence briefing Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran 'standing down' | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (D-N.J.) introduced another bill related to Syria.

The House also easily passed a resolution on Wednesday that would formally break with Trump's decision and urge Turkey to end its military action, with only 60 lawmakers voting against it.

But it's unclear if the Senate will take up the resolution.

McConnell noted on Thursday that he personally would support a stronger resolution.

"I believe it's important that we make a strong forward-looking strategic statement. For that reason my preference would be for something even stronger than the resolution that the House passed yesterday, which has some serious weaknesses," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

Updated: 8 p.m.