Today in Trump-Russia
- The Treasury Department made some limited exceptions to sanctions imposed against Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that affected the sale of cell phones and other electronics that use encryption.
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a statement calling the easing of sanctions a “thank you” from President Trump for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. “I have been asking the same question for a while: what do the Russians have on President Trump?” Pelosi stated.
- Russia’s state news agency TASS celebrated the easing of sanctions as a thaw in relations. Nikolai Kovalyov, a member of the Duma and a former director of the FSB, said the move paves the way for an anti-terrorism coalition.
- At the United Nations, US Representative Nikki Haley said sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns control over the Crimean Peninsula to Ukraine. Haley also condemned Russia for an upsurge of violence in Eastern Ukraine.
A New Investigation
- The US Senate Judiciary Subcommitee on Crime and Terrorism announced investigation of Russian efforts to influence democratic elections, both in the US and abroad. “Our efforts will be guided by the belief that we have an obligation to follow the facts wherever they may lead,” subcommittee chairman Lindsey Graham wrote in a statement. This is the third Congressional investigation into Russia’s election meddling.
War in the Ukraine
- During a press conference with the Hungarian prime minister, Vladimir Putin falsely accused the Ukrainian government of stoking violence the country’s east in a bid to win support from Donald Trump
“Certain oligarchs, certainly with the approval of the political leadership, funded this candidate, or female candidate, to be more precise. Now they need to improve relations with the current administration, and using a conflict to do so is always a better, easier way to draw the incumbent administration into addressing Ukrainian problems and thus establish a dialogue.”