Saturday, June 3, 2017

Leaky, Leaky

Every now and then, I still get a flash of feeling that I've slipped into an alternate reality where Trump is president of the United States, but in the real world, no such thing happened.
Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve tensions with Moscow.


Since this was the same State Department bureau that had helped develop the punitive measures in the first place, and actively pushed for them under the leadership of Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland, who had just resigned, the tasking order left staffers feeling “deeply uncomfortable,” said one source, who asked not to be identified.


Dan Fried, a veteran State Department official who served as chief U.S. coordinator for sanctions policy until he retired in late February [...] said in the first few weeks of the administration, he received several “panicky” calls from U.S. government officials who told him they had been directed to develop a sanctions-lifting package and imploring him, “Please, my God, can’t you stop this?”

Fried said he grew so concerned that he contacted Capitol Hill allies — including Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., the ranking minority member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — to urge them to move quickly to pass legislation that would “codify” the sanctions in place, making it difficult for President Trump to remove them.


[T]he political battles over the issue are far from over. Cardin, McCain and Graham are separately pushing another sanctions bill — imposing tough new measures in response to Russia’s election interference. The measures have so far been blocked for consideration within the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by its chairman, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who says he wants to first hear the administration’s position on the issue.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

No comments: