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Pence huddles with GOP allies on Syria

Pence huddles with GOP allies on Syria
© Aaron Schwartz

Vice President Pence on Thursday huddled in the Capitol with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE’s top allies in the House to discuss “progress” in Syria and other national security issues, meeting participants told The Hill.

Those who met with Pence in the Senate dining room included House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyHouse GOP uses procedural tool to protest proxy voting The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Tensions rise with Trump, Barr Watch live: McCarthy holds news briefing MORE (R-Calif.), GOP Conference Chairwoman Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyPressure grows from GOP for Trump to recognize Biden election win Trump: Liz Cheney's election remarks sparked by push to bring US troops home Biden's lead over Trump surpasses 6M votes as more ballots are tallied MORE (Wyo.), former Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsAlyssa Farah resigns as White House communications director Trump hits Barr over voter fraud remarks: 'He hasn't looked' Trump had tense meeting with Barr after statement DOJ found no widespread election fraud: reports MORE (R-N.C.), and the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulOvernight Defense: Pentagon prepping for Trump order to draw down in Afghanistan, Iraq | Questions swirl after DOD purge | 10th service member killed by COVID-19 Former VOA producer sues US global media agency over termination Record number of women to serve in the next Congress MORE of Texas.

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The meeting comes amid serious tensions between Trump and his GOP allies on Capitol Hill over the administration’s decision to pull troops out of northern Syria — a move that green-lighted the Turkish incursion against the Kurds that quickly followed.

The House voted overwhelmingly, 354-60, to condemn Trump’s move. Nearly 130 Republicans — including McCarthy, Cheney, McCaul and Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseTop Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Richmond says GOP 'reluctant to stand up and tell the emperor he wears no clothes' New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future MORE (R-La.) — joined all Democrats in backing the measure.

More recently, Cheney introduced legislation to slap new sanctions on Turkey in response to the invasion, even as Trump was lifting existing sanctions on Ankara.

Cheney, one of the loudest GOP critics of Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds, who have fought for years alongside the U.S. in the war against ISIS, declined to discuss specifics about the meeting but said GOP leaders and Pence talked about “where we are headed from a national security perspective.”

“We’re really grateful the vice president came and took the time,” Cheney said as she emerged from the meeting, “and personally I’m going to ensure that we continue to do everything we can do to fight ISIS to make sure that we can defend the nation, and I think it’s very important for us to continue to stand with our allies around the world.”

It was unclear if impeachment came up during the discussion.

Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said the meeting with Pence had been scheduled for several days. 

“The vice president wanted to come up and talk about where things stand with respect to Turkey and a number of other issues as well,” Cheney said. 

“The focus was very much on national security.”

– Mike Lillis contributed