Senate Dems ask Trump Organization for information on dealings with Turkey

Senate Dems ask Trump Organization for information on dealings with Turkey
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Four Senate Democrats on Tuesday asked the Trump Organization for information on its business dealings with Turkey as President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump retweets personal attacks on Clinton, Pelosi, Abrams Biden swipes at Trump: 'Presidency is about a lot more than tweeting from your golf cart' GOP sues California over Newsom's vote-by-mail order MORE’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria faces ongoing, bipartisan scrutiny on Capitol Hill.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthABC's Whoopi Goldberg to headline Biden fundraiser with Sen. Tammy Duckworth House Democrat to introduce legislation allowing governors to extend National Guard deployments The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Mnuchin, Powell: Economy may need more boost; Trump defends malaria drug MORE (Ill.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDHS watchdog to investigate COVID-19 cases in ICE detention facilities Hispanic Caucus makes major ad buy for New Mexico Democratic candidate for House Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections MORE (N.M.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers demand answers on Chinese COVID hacks | Biden re-ups criticism of Amazon | House Dem bill seeks to limit microtargeting MORE (Mass.), a 2020 presidential candidate, wrote a letter to Trump Organization executive vice president Jill A. Martin asking her to provide information about two Trump Towers in Istanbul and any connection it may have to the troop withdrawal or other aspects of the relationship between Washington and Ankara.

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The senators underscored a 2015 interview in which then-candidate Trump said he had a “little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul,” noting the president continues to collect revenue from the towers in the form of royalties.

“We agree with the President in his assertion that the Trump Organization’s dealings in Turkey present a financial conflict of interest for him and are greatly concerned this conflict may be influencing U.S. foreign policy toward the Erdogan government,” they wrote, referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Besides the troop withdrawal, which the senators said “[opened] the door to a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish forces who have been valuable partners of the U.S. in the fight against [ISIS],” the Democrats also cited concerns over the administration’s efforts to push for the extradition of an Erdoğan living in the U.S. back to Turkey, forego criminal prosecution of individuals and banks believed to have violated sanctions on Iran and Turkey’s purchases of Russian military equipment over Washington’s objections. 

The senators asked Martin to provide the income the Trump Organization earned from its business dealings in Turkey from 2017 to this year, as well as if it ever sought approval from Ankara to get a licensing agreement for the two towers or if it had communicated with U.S. or Turkish government officials regarding “any matter” in the U.S.-Turkish relationship. Martin is requested to provide answers to the questions by Nov. 12. 

The letter comes before a scheduled visit by Erdoğan to the White House next month, a meeting that lawmakers have said should be canceled over Turkey’s offensive in Syria.

“[B]ecause President Erdogan is scheduled to meet with President Trump in Washington, D.C. next month, it is important for Congress to be aware of the President’s financial interests that could influence the formation of U.S. policy during those discussions,” the lawmakers wrote. 

Bipartisan pushback to Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from northeastern Syria, combined with the House’s impeachment investigation over the president’s dealings with Ukraine, have dominated national headlines for weeks, with critics saying the retreat lifted the chief deterrent to the offensive against U.S.-aligned Kurdish groups.

Trump has pushed back on the criticism, saying he campaigned on ending “endless wars” and that the Kurds are “no angels,” a remark that fueled further disapproval.