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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Trump at the White House in May 2017. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday authorizing the imposition of sanctions on current and former Turkish officials, senior administration officials told reporters Monday.

Why it matters: Trump's removal of nearly all U.S. troops from Syria created bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill, prompting members of Congress to immediately prepare sanctions bills of their own in retaliation. As Axios' Dave Lawler notes, Trump is now preempting those looming sanctions with steps of his own.

  • However, some Democratic lawmakers have already said that sanctions on Turkey alone are not enough.  
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.) said as much in a Monday statement, arguing that Trump must "correct course" and reverse the troop withdrawal.

The White House is pressing for a cease-fire in the region. Trump directed a senior level delegation to depart for Ankara, Turkey, as quickly as possible, the officials said, adding that he would not send a high level delegation on such short notice unless he was pretty confident there was a chance at making a deal to stop the Turkish invasion.

  • The officials said the conflict is Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's fault, not Trump's.
  • "Moving a few men around in northern Syria" was not going to change much, one official said, adding that Erdogan was going to move ahead with the invasion regardless of whether the U.S. had troops on the ground.
  • The administration also announced a suspension of trade talks with Turkey and increased steel tariffs to 50%.

The officials would not say whether ISIS fighters have escaped imprisonment as a result of the fighting.

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to show that the U.S. delegation was sent to Ankara, Turkey (not to Africa).

Go deeper

Read: Former Vice President Walter Mondale's last message

Photo courtesy of Mondale.

Former Vice President Walter Mondale wrote a farewell letter to his staff, sent upon his death on Monday, thanking them for years working together.

Dear Team,

Well my time has come. I am eager to rejoin Joan and Eleanor. Before I Go I wanted to let you know how much you mean to me. Never has a public servant had a better group of people working at their side!

Together we have accomplished so much and I know you will keep up the good fight.

Joe in the White House certainly helps.

I always knew it would be okay if I arrived some place and was greeted by one of you!

My best to all of you!

Fritz

Former Vice President Walter Mondale dies at 93

Walter Mondale, left, with former President Jimmy Carter in Jan. 2018 at the McNamara Alumni Center on the University of Minnesota's campus in Minneapolis. Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Walter Mondale, who transformed the role of U.S. vice president while serving under Jimmy Carter and was the Democratic nominee for president in 1984, died Monday at 93, according to a family spokesperson.

The big picture: President Biden, who was mentored by Mondale through the years, said in 2015 that the former vice president gave him a "roadmap" to successfully take on the job.

Scoop: U.S. ambassador refuses Kremlin push to leave Russia

U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Sullivan. Photo: Anton Novoderezhkin/TASS via Getty Images

The United States ambassador to Russia is refusing to leave the country after the Kremlin "advised" him to return home following new Biden administration sanctions, two sources briefed on the situation tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Sullivan, a respected diplomat who President Biden has, so far, retained from the Trump era, is at the center of one of the most important early tests of Biden's resolve.

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