Thursday, 19 September, 2019

House Republicans join rebuke of Trump for easing Russian Federation sanctions

Senate rejects resolution to block President Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia Senate rejects Democratic efforts to prevent sanctions relief for Russian oligarch
Pablo Mccormick | 18 January, 2019, 08:38

"The companies will be subject to ongoing compliance and will face severe consequences if they fail to comply", Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in the department's news release.

The Republicans who voted with Democrats were John Boozman and Tom Cotton of Arkansas; Susan Collins of Maine; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Steve Daines of Montana; Josh Hawley of Missouri; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Martha McSally of Arizona; Marco Rubio of Florida; Jerry Moran of Kansas; and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

"Treasury sanctioned these companies due to their ownership and control by sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, not for the conduct of the companies themselves".

Treasury's decision to lift the sanctions came after a months-long lobbying effort from the companies and EN+ Group chairman Lord Barker of Battle, a member of the British House of Lords.

The sanctions relief, however, is set to move forward after a mandated 30-day review expires Thursday.

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But that result still fell short of the 60 votes necessary to advance in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans have a 53-47 seat majority. "The Senate voted on a resolution they knew did not have the votes to pass in order to score political points".

"I do disapprove of the easing of the sanctions because I think it sends the wrong message to Russian Federation and to the oligarch - a close ally of Mr. Putin, Oleg Deripaska - who will in my judgment continue to maintain considerable control under the Treasury's plan", Collins told reporters after casting her vote.

Rusal President Oleg Deripaska is seen during a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

"Given the reality of corporate structures, anyone looking at this understands that he was left with enough control that he would benefit if sanctions were lifted..."

Major questions had also been raised about who would benefit from the corporate restructuring. Thomas often appears on Russian State TV where he vocally supports Moscow's foreign policy positions, and he has publicly defended Russia's role in the war in Ukraine.

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"There is no good reason for the USA government to lift sanctions on one of the most compromised Russian oligarchs around".

Sanctions against Mr. Deripaska personally, which had gone into effect last April, remain in force and would not have been affected by the Treasury Department decision or the Senate measure.

The rationale behind lifting sanctions is allegedly to ensure that only sanctioned individuals like Deripaska, and not the shareholders and employees of their companies, are punished by sanctions.

He continued: "And you better not expect that if the House changes hands and Democrats are in the majority, that you're going to be able to deny us information on the Mueller investigation". Susan Collins of ME, one of the Republicans who voted with Democrats, said after the first vote. "This will make OFAC gun shy because they can't count on Congress to let it do its administrative duties".

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