MORE SANC­TIONS in plans for Rus­sia, Mnuchin says.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - SALEHA MOHSIN

New U.S. sanc­tions will fol­low the pub­li­ca­tion of a list of Rus­sian bil­lion­aires and top Rus­sian of­fi­cials, Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin said Tues­day.

Mnuchin said the “oli­garchs list” wasn’t de­layed by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, af­ter it was pub­lished late Mon­day, just as a con­gres­sion­ally man­dated dead­line was set to ex­pire. While Trea­sury em­pha­sized that peo­ple on the list are not nec­es­sar­ily sub­ject to U.S. sanc­tions, the re­port has been de­nounced by the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment, which says it will fur­ther hurt re­la­tions with the U.S.

Some Democrats in Con­gress said they were up­set that the re­port was not im­me­di­ately ac­com­pa­nied by fresh U.S. sanc­tions to pun­ish Rus­sia for its al­leged med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion. Sen. Sher­rod Brown, D-Ohio, ac­cused Mnuchin of “slow-walk­ing” the re­port. Oth­ers said the ad­min­is­tra­tion had let Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin off the hook.

“We will take the ba­sis of that re­port and look at, as we do in the nor­mal course, where it’s ap­pro­pri­ate to put sanc­tions. This should in no way be in­ter­preted as we’re not putting sanc­tions on any of the peo­ple in that re­port,” Mnuchin said. “I don’t think in any way we are slow-walk­ing the re­port de­liv­ered last night, and we look for­ward to dis­cussing [it] with you in a classified set­ting.”

The 96 ty­coons named in the U.S. list match the list of bil­lion­aires pub­lished by the Rus­sian edi­tion of Forbes mag­a­zine last year. A Trea­sury spokesman, who spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity, con­firmed that the un­clas­si­fied por­tion of the re­port that was sub­mit­ted to Con­gress was de­rived from pub­licly avail­able sources in­clud­ing the Forbes list.

Along with 114 Rus­sian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and state-com­pany chiefs, the names were com­piled based on “ob­jec­tive cri­te­ria drawn from pub­licly avail­able sources,” Trea­sury said in the re­port.

An ac­com­pa­ny­ing re­port on the ef­fect on Rus­sia’s sov­er­eign debt from pos­si­ble U.S. sanc­tions was classified, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said in a state­ment Tues­day. Con­gress had re­quested an un­clas­si­fied ver­sion of the re­port.

The idea of the seven-page un­clas­si­fied doc­u­ment, as en­vi­sioned by Con­gress, was to name and shame those be­lieved to be ben­e­fit­ing from Putin’s ten­ure as the U.S. works to iso­late his gov­ern­ment diplo­mat­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally. Rus­sia hawks in Con­gress had pushed the ad­min­is­tra­tion to in­clude cer­tain names, while Rus­sian busi­ness­men hired lob­by­ists to keep them off.

The list in­cludes peo­ple al­ready sub­ject to sanc­tions be­cause of their close ties to Putin, such as Arkady Roten­berg, as well as those seen as dis­tant from the Krem­lin, such as banker Oleg Tinkov and gro­cery ty­coon Sergey Gal­it­sky.

Jok­ing that it was “of­fen­sive” that he wasn’t in­cluded, Putin said at a cam­paign event that Rus­sia will “re­frain for the mo­ment” from im­ple­ment­ing se­ri­ous re­tal­ia­tory mea­sures it has pre­pared.

“In ef­fect, all 146 mil­lion of us have been put on some list,” he said, call­ing it “indis­putably an un­friendly act.”

Mean­while, of­fi­cials said Tues­day that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion let a top Rus­sian spy of­fi­cial visit the U.S. last week for meet­ings with U.S. in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials even though there are sanc­tions against him that typ­i­cally pro­hibit such vis­its.

The Rus­sian am­bas­sador to the U.S., Ana­toly Antonov, said on Rus­sian state TV that Sergei Naryshkin, head of the Rus­sian For­eign In­tel­li­gence Ser­vice, met with his U.S. coun­ter­parts about the fight against ter­ror­ism.

Se­nate Mi­nor­ity Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a fre­quent critic of Trump’s treat­ment of Putin and his gov­ern­ment, said the tim­ing of the trip was sus­pi­cious.

“This is a se­ri­ous na­tional se­cu­rity is­sue,” Schumer told reporters. “Rus­sia hacked our elec­tions. We sanc­tioned the head of their for­eign in­tel­li­gence, and then the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion in­vites him to waltz through our front door.

“This is an ex­treme dere­lic­tion of duty by Pres­i­dent Trump, who seems more in­tent on un­der­min­ing the rule of law in this coun­try than stand­ing up to Putin.”

Schumer said he wants to know whether sanc­tions were dis­cussed, whether Naryshkin also met with White House or na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials and whether other sanc­tioned Rus­sian of­fi­cials were along on the trip. Naryshkin was sanc­tioned in 2014 in re­sponse to Rus­sia’s an­nex­a­tion of Crimea.

In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Vladimir Isachenkov and Josh Lederman of The As­so­ci­ated Press.


Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steve Mnuchin tes­ti­fies Tues­day be­fore the Se­nate Bank­ing Com­mit­tee.

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