Lost in memo frenzy, White House passed on punishing Russia for 2016 meddling
Lost in the shuffle of the Washington shouting matches over the Russia investigations last week was the fact that the Trump administration missed a great opportunity to impose further sanctions on Moscow.
In 2017, Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by an overwhelming majority and President Trump signed the bill into law. It mandated the administration to provide a list by Jan. 31 of Russian persons and/or entities to be sanctioned for their closeness to the Russian regime as punishment for the aggression in Ukraine and Russia’s incontrovertible intervention in our 2016 elections.
The Treasury Department did not actually draft a list of persons and entities close to President Putin whose sanctioning would present to Russia an unmistakable sign of our serious intent. Instead the Treasury Department, possibly at the last moment, merely repeated a list of Russian oligarchs taken from Forbes.ru and thus displayed its “compliance” with the legislation.