Pelosi Ties Trump’s Withdrawal from Syria to Flynn’s Sentencing Hearing
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) drew a connection between President Trump’s Wednesday announcement of an immediate U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria to the Tuesday sentencing hearing of his former national-security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“It is premature for the President to declare a sweeping victory against ISIS when, just a few weeks ago, our military led more than 250 coalition-conducted airstrikes against targets in Iraq and Syria,” Pelosi said in a statement. “All Americans should be concerned that this hasty announcement was made on the day after sentencing in criminal proceedings began against the President’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who admitted that he was a registered foreign agent for a country with clear interests in the Syrian conflict.”
While Flynn was not charged with failing to register as a foreign agent, he admitted during his sentencing hearing Tuesday that he did in fact act as unregistered foreign agent on behalf of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan during his time serving as an adviser to the Trump campaign. At the time, the retired three star general was receiving payments from the Turkish government to publish op-eds defending Erdogan’s foreign-policy agenda, though his work for Erdogan did conclude prior to his brief tenure as White House national-security adviser.
Flynn was scheduled to be sentenced during the Tuesday hearing but the action was delayed at the behest of his defense attorneys, who preferred that his sentence be handed down once his cooperation with prosecutors in multiple ongoing investigations is complete.
A series of reports published Wednesday morning indicated the Trump administration has initiated the immediate withdrawal of the roughly 2,000 U.S. troops remaining in Syria. Trump seemed to confirm the news in a Wednesday morning tweet, in which he declared victory over the Islamic State despite the continued survival of roughly 30,000 fighters.
An indictment unsealed Monday revealed that two of Flynn’s former business associates have been charged with acting as unregistered foreign agents. The two men, both Turkish nationals, stand accused of conducting a campaign designed to pressure U.S. officials into extraditing one of Erdogan’s chief political rivals. Flynn has cooperated extensively in that investigation, according to prosecutors.