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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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum MORE's "close ties" to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

In a letter to Robert O'BrienRobert O'BrienHuawei says sales rose in 2020, but growth slowed amid US sanctions White House aides head for exits after chaos at Capitol Top Melania Trump aide Stephanie Grisham resigns MORE, Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSchumer says Senate will vote on repealing 2002 war authorization The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week Sanders drops bid to block Biden's Israel arms sale 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.