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Graham throws support behind Trump’s Turkey sanctions

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Monday night that he backs President Trump‘s decision to slap new financial penalties on Turkey and that the administration deserved “reasonable time and space” to implement its strategy in Syria.
 
“I strongly support President Trump’s decision to initiate executive order sanctions against Turkish officials and economy for Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria. Turkey is attacking the Kurdish forces that supported us the most in destroying the ISIS Caliphate,” Graham, one of the most vociferous opponents of Trump’s recent move to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria, said in a statement. 
 
Graham’s comments come after he spoke with Trump and took part in calls among the president, administration officials and “key leaders in this conflict.” 
 
Graham added that his colleagues should publicly push back against Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria and back Trump’s sanctions plan, which the president announced earlier Monday
 

“The President’s team has a plan and I intend to support them as strongly as possible, and to give them reasonable time and space to achieve our mutual goals,” he continued. 

 
Graham is a close ally of Trump’s on Capitol Hill but the two have been publicly at odds over the president’s decision to yank U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish military operation. 
 

Graham helped lead last week’s fierce wave of backlash from GOP lawmakers, previously calling Trump’s move a “disaster in the making” and “the biggest blunder of his presidency.”

 
Graham’s statement is a marked shift from even his comments earlier Monday after he spoke with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), where they talked about the need for Congress to pass its own sanctions. 
 

“I will be working across party lines in a bicameral fashion to draft sanctions and move quickly, appreciating President Trump’s willingness to work with the Congress. The Speaker indicated to me that time was of the essence,” Graham tweeted after the phone call.

 
He made no mention in his statement after speaking with Trump about the need for Congress to pass its own legislation. 
 
In addition to a sanctions package, lawmakers are expected to offer a joint resolution formally opposing Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria and urge him to reverse course. 
 

Graham had indicated last week that he would be working on that resolution and that he hoped it would “receive strong bipartisan support.”

 
In addition to sanctions, Vice President Pence told reporters on Monday that he would soon be leading a U.S. delegation to Turkey. 
 
Graham, in his statement on Monday evening, appeared to endorse that effort. 

“In the meantime, I think it would be wise to allow the Administration an opportunity to meet with Turkey and other interested parties to see if we can find an end to the bloodshed with a sustainable solution regarding ISIS and other U.S. national security concerns,” he said.

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