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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — one of the senators to draft sanctions against Turkey for its attack on Kurdish forces in northern Syria — reportedly described the "YPG Kurds" as a "threat" in an August phone call with a man he believed to be Turkey's defense minister, Politico reports.

The big picture: The YPG, with U.S. support, helped drive the Islamic State from northern Syria and Iraq. But Turkey has long wanted to attack the YPG, which it declared a terrorist organization. President Trump's decision late Sunday to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and leave the YPG exposed to attack from Turkey has garnered bipartisan backlash and angered his most ardent Republican allies in Congress.

Driving the news: Graham said in the August phone call that he was "sympathetic" to Turkey's "Kurdish problem," per Politico, and that he "told President Trump that Obama made a huge mistake in relying on the YPG Kurds."

  • Of note: Graham was actually speaking with Russian pranksters Alexey Stolyarov and Vladimir Kuznetsov, according to Politico, and not Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.

Catch up quick: Graham also referenced the president's personal interest in a “Turkish bank case” that appears to refer to the 2017 case against gold trader Reza Zarrab.

  • Trump pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to "help persuade the Justice Department to drop" Zarrab's case in 2017, Bloomberg reports — which Tillerson refused to do and described as "illegal."
  • The dismissal of the case was a high priority for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, according to Bloomberg.

Go deeper: Senators draft bipartisan sanctions bill over Turkey's assault on Kurds

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Screenshot: Fox News

President Trump has delivered a farewell speech and departed Washington for the last time on Air Force One, kicking off the day that will culminate with President-elect Joe Biden taking office.

What's next: The inaugural celebration for young Americans is being livestreamed, starting at 10am.

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump departs on final Air Force One flight

President Trump and his family took off on Air Force One at 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning for the final time en route to Florida.

The big picture: Trump's final hours as president were punctuated by his decisions to snub his successor's inauguration and grant pardons to many of his allies who have been swept up in corruption scandals.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen said all the right things to reassure the markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Treasury Secretary nominee and former Fed chair Janet Yellen's confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday showed markets just what they can expect from the administration of President-elect Joe Biden: more of what they got under President Trump — at least for now.

What it means: Investors and big companies reaped the benefits of ultralow U.S. interest rates and low taxes for most of Trump's term as well as significant increases in government spending, even before the coronavirus pandemic.