Senate Democrat on Turkey sanctions: 'For God's sake, what are they waiting for?'

Senate Democrat on Turkey sanctions: 'For God's sake, what are they waiting for?'
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenOvernight 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 Senate Foreign Relations chair: 'Best' not to pass Turkey sanctions bill 'at this moment' On The Money: Retirement savings bill blocked in Senate after fight over amendments | Stopgap bill may set up December spending fight | Hardwood industry pleads for relief from Trump trade war MORE (D-Md.) on Sunday blasted the Trump administration's delay in imposing sanctions against Turkey for its actions in northern Syria. 

“For God’s sake, what are they waiting for? People are being killed right now,” Hollen, who is co-sponsoring Turkish sanctions legislation with Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), said on "Fox News Sunday."

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“Our Syrian Kurdish allies are being killed right now, it looks like many of the ISIS detainees are now possibly going to be able to escape …[The White House] looks ridiculous right now, so that’s why it’s important that the Congress move forward on this front,” Van Hollen told Fox’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceChris Wallace: Taylor testimony 'very damaging to President Trump' Republicans, Democrats brace for first public testimony in impeachment inquiry Intelligence panel Democrat: 'I think we will end up calling' some witnesses on GOP list MORE. “All [the Trump administration] is doing is talking while people are being killed.”

Van Hollen told that Wallace bipartisan support for action against Turkey, which moved troops into northern Syria after President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg surges ahead of Iowa caucuses Biden leads among Latino Democrats in Texas, California Kavanaugh hailed by conservative gathering in first public speech since confirmation MORE announced the withdrawal of U.S. forces, exists among lawmakers.

“We believe momentum is building for the Congress to act since this president has shown a total unwillingness to do something in the face of this slaughter,” he said. “The key is to act quickly. When Congress wants to act quickly it can.”

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings Lawmakers aim for agreement on top-line spending by next week Mnuchin: White House has no intention for a shutdown MORE, meanwhile, defended the pace of the White House’s response after Trump vowed swift action if Turkey treats Syrian Kurds, who helped the U.S. fight ISIS, inhumanely.

“Let me just say this is a complicated, developing situation. You have a NATO ally on one hand fighting against the Kurds who were helping us with the fight against ISIS,” Mnuchin told ABC’s Jon Karl on Sunday. “We are in daily communications with Turkey, both at the Defense Department, the State Department, on very specific issues. We are ready to go at a moment’s notice to put on sanctions.”

Trump also tweeted early Sunday about the push in Congress for action against Turkey.

“Treasury is ready to go, additional legislation may be sought. There is great consensus on this. Turkey has asked that it not be done. Stay tuned!” he said.