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Top Senate Democrat asks for documents related to Trump's ties to Erdoğan

Top Senate Democrat asks for documents related to Trump's ties to Erdoğan
© Aaron Schwartz

The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested documents from the director of national intelligence on Monday detailing what he called President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote MORE's "close ties" to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to Robert O'BrienRobert O'BrienSunday shows preview: Trump, Biden gear up for final sprint to Election Day Overnight Defense: More COVID-19 cases on USS Theodore Roosevelt | Trump adviser fires back at general over Afghanistan | US blasts Turkey's test of air defense system Trump adviser shoots back at top general: 'I wasn't speculating' on Afghanistan troop levels MORE, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate Democrats hold talkathon to protest Barrett's Supreme Court nomination Watchdog confirms State Dept. canceled award for journalist who criticized Trump Kasie Hunt to host lead-in show for MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' MORE (D-N.J.) called on the intelligence community to produce documents detailing "the nature and national security implications of President Trump’s close ties with Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan."

Menendez added in his letter that the documents were necessary to examine examples of Trump's business with the Turkish president since taking office, including his refusal to enforce congressionally mandated sanctions on Turkey as well as his decision to pull U.S. forces out of an area of northern Syria that has since been occupied by Turkish-backed forces.

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“In each of these examples, President Trump’s positions or silence appears to have been swayed by his relationship with President Erdoğan, or his own personal interests in Turkey, rather focused on promoting U.S. national security interests,” Menendez said.

“While it may have worked out for the President personally, this relationship has not worked out well for the national security of the United States, the country he was elected to lead,” the senator added.

Menendez pointed to audio recordings of interviews between Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward and Trump, recently released by Woodward, including references Trump made to the Turkish leader.

“I get along very well with Erdoğan, even though you’re not supposed to because everyone says, ‘What a horrible guy.’ But, you know, for me it works out good," Trump said to Woodward.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment. Trump's interviews with Woodward, conducted as part of the writer's new book on the president, have become a headache for the administration in recent weeks due in part to comments Trump made to Woodward earlier this year about the coronavirus pandemic that clashed with his own public remarks.