A bipartisan group of House lawmakers has drafted a resolution to condemn the White House decision to pull troops out of northern Syria this week, which paved the way for Turkey’s brutal assault on U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) on Friday released the four-page legislation, which “opposes the decision” by the Trump administration to allow the Turkish invasion into Kurdish-held territory.
The resolution does not directly rebuke President Donald Trump by name, an attempt to win GOP support on the floor. But it is clearly a criticism of the president, who announced earlier this week the U.S. would not fight back against Turkish troops as they ramped up an assault on Kurdish forces.
Kurdish soldiers have long partnered with the U.S. to fight the Islamic State, and the resolution describes them as "fighting courageously" alongside the U.S.
The New York Democrat first announced the plans on a conference call with Democrats on Friday.
Engel is also drafting a bill to impose targeted sanctions on Turkey for its military campaign, which has killed dozens of Kurdish fighters since it began Wednesday, he said on a call with Democrats on Friday afternoon. Engel’s office declined to comment.
The Trump administration also threatened sanctions against Turkey on Friday, but did not announce any immediate plans to do so.
The possibility of sanctions comes after a fierce backlash from Trump’s own party, with top Republicans, like House Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), criticizing Trump for acceding to Turkey.
A bipartisan group of senators, led by Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), released a bill Wednesday proposing a series of sanctions against Turkey. It’s not clear whether Engel’s bill would be similar.
The hourlong Democratic caucus call comes just days before the House is slated to return from its two-week recess, where Trump’s rapidly intensifying controversy with Ukraine will be the central focus.
It was also the first call since Trump delivered his strongly worded letter to Democrats, warning that he would not cooperate in their investigation into his attempts to persuade Ukrainian leaders to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who has spent two weeks holding closed-door depositions with key witnesses, told Democrats there is evidence foofr more than one “quid pro quo.” But he said the fact that Trump allegedly sought foreign assistance for political benefit is enough.
“If they get in our way, they are building a case for obstruction of Congress,” Schiff told his colleagues.
One lawmaker, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), asked whether there’s anything House Democrats can do if the White House continues to defy subpoenas. The response from top Democrats: not much, which is why the inquiry is important.
House Oversight Committee Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) added that they are in a “constitutional crisis.”
Additionally on the call, Speaker Nancy Pelosi called Trump a “a potty-mouth and children are listening,” referring to his profanity-laced rally in Minnesota on Thursday night.