The Trump administration is set to roll out new economic sanctions against Russia for aiding Syrian leader Bashar Assad, said the United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday.
“They will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use,” Haley said during an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
The sanctions are the latest effort by the United States to punish the Assad regime and its allies for a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians two weeks ago. On Friday, the United States, Britain and France launched a series of air strikes on Syria aimed at wiping out Assad’s chemical weapons capability.
The Trump administration also pushed back on comments made Sunday by French President Emmanuel Macron, who in an interview on French TV noted that President Donald Trump days earlier expressed his eagerness to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, and “we convinced him to remain.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a statement released Sunday night, said: “The U.S. mission has not changed — the president has been clear that he wants U.S. forces to come home as quickly as possible. We are determined to completely crush ISIS and create the conditions that will prevent its return. In addition, we expect our regional allies and partners to take greater responsibility both militarily and financially for securing the region.”
Trump’s decision to order airstrikes against Syria was a focus of the Sunday morning talk shows, with opponents questioning his tweet “Mission Accomplished!” and supporters defending the term’s use.
Trump faced criticism for using the term Saturday on social media, with critics noting that it echoed former President George W. Bush’s declaration shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in May 2003, and that the Iraq War continued for eight years.
Sunday morning, the president was back on Twitter defending the tweet.
“The Syrian raid was so perfectly carried out, with such precision, that the only way the Fake News Media could demean was by my use of the term ‘Mission Accomplished,’ ” Trump tweeted. “I knew they would seize on this but felt it is such a great Military term, it should be brought back. Use often!”
Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said the success of the missile attacks depended on whether Syria stopped using chemical weapons.
“It’s impossible to say at this point the mission has been accomplished,” King, who caucuses with Democrats, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “Saying it’s been a success — we won’t know until we see if the regime continues to use chemical weapons.”
A year ago, the United States launched missiles on Syria in response to another chemical weapon attack, he noted.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Haley said the term “mission accomplished” had different definitions in military and political circles. Militarily, she said it “means one task currently in front of you.”
“We of course know our work in Syria is not done,” Haley said.
Sanders, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” also defended the president’s “Mission Accomplished!” tweet, saying the United States and coalition forces “100 percent met their objectives” Friday.
Sanders said the United States and coalition forces “went out to destroy critical chemical weapons infrastructure in Syria, and they did exactly that.”
Former CIA director John Brennan, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said he believed the Trump administration’s decision to strike Syria “was exactly right. It was proportional,” but he also warned that Syria probably could “re-create” its chemical weapons program.
“I’m sure this strike, which was a tactical and surgical success, has been a setback” for the Assad regime, Brennan said. “That doesn’t mean that the Syrians can’t re-create the chemical weapons to use again.”