The top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee requested documents from the director of national intelligence on Monday detailing what he called President Trump's "close ties" to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In a letter to Robert O'Brien, Sen. Bob Menendez (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.
“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.