Trump Administration Sanctions and Rhetoric at Odds with Russian Collusion Accusations

By Llewellyn Hinkes Jones

The ongoing Mueller probe by the Justice Department of potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has led to a swarm of accusations that President Trump is colluding with the Russian state.

But those accusations contradict the actions by the Trump administration, which has doubled-down on sanctions against Russia and Russian individuals.

Since 2016, the Treasury has sanctioned 2,191 individuals related to Russia—Russian nationals, citizens, or those with Russian addresses—under the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) provisions.

Over a thousand Russian-related individuals have been sanctioned in 2018 alone, or about one-third of all Russian sanctions under OFAC.

Russia is also the target of the most non-Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) sanctions—those not specifically related to terrorism charges—with 323 separate sanctions based on Executive Order 13662, "Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine," dated from March of 2014 from the Obama administration.

Only 5 sanctions are listed for Ukraine nationals under the Executive Order 13662.

Little Empathy for Russia from Trump’s Cabinet

A number of Trump’s appointees have also been accused of allegiances with Russia, including ex-head of State Rex Tillerson.

Tillerson was previously anointed as a friend of Russia while head of oil giant Exxon. But Tillerson did little to bridge the two country’s divide during his short tenure as Secretary of State.

Other cabinet members, like Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley have been actively critical of Russia following recent events.

In a 2017 call with who he believed to be the Ukrainian prime minister, Energy Secretary Rick Perry insisted the U.S. would work to stop Russia’s Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project.

Published: December 14, 2018