Trump invites Turkey's Erdogan and GOP senators to White House meeting

"Legislative engagement with select members of the Senate," according to the president's schedule.

President Trump invited foreign policy-minded GOP senators to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and himself at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

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The White House called it a "legislative engagement."

The group included Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jim Risch of Idaho. Risch is working on a bill to "restrict arm sales to Turkey" and "impose new biting sanctions against Turkey and Russia," he announced in October.

The meeting was designed to "clear the air," a source familiar with the meeting said, according to CNN. Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Ted Cruz of Texas, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Rick Scott of Florida were also at the meeting, the White House said.

Erdogan and Trump (Photo: Associated Press)

Erdogan arrived in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, a day ahead of his scheduled White House visit with Trump, which comes after Turkey invaded Northern Syria in October.

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The U.S. trip also revives scrutiny of a May 2017 visit by Erdogan, in which members of his security detail were accused of assaulting American demonstrators outside the Turkish Embassy in Washington. New protests were expected Wednesday in Lafayette Park across from the White House.

The two leaders were expected to discuss Turkey's decision to purchase a Russian-made air defense system – even though Turkey is a member of NATO and hosts a U.S. military base – as well as its the country's military actions against Kurds in northern Syria, which have drawn bipartisan condemnation in Congress.

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Fox News' Dom Calicchio and John Roberts contributed to this report.