Thursday, June 8, 2017

State Department Now on the Record About Trump Efforts to Ease Sanctions on Russia

Questions Abound About the Quid Pro Quo

One of the complaints the Trumpies have made about all the stories about their nefarious deeds is that most of the sources are anonymous.  This is necessary, of course because the people leaking this information would be in deep trouble if they were found out.  Not because what they are doing is wrong, they are not leaking state secrets but stuff the administration doesn’t want the American public to know. 

Now we have a story about how the Trump people tried to get the sanctions lifted on Russia.  And the sources are on the record.  Here is one of them.

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. . . .
“There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions,” said Dan Fried, a veteran State Department official who served as chief U.S. coordinator for sanctions policy until he retired in late February. He 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?”
And here is another.

Tom Malinowski, who had just stepped down as President Obama’s assistant secretary of state for human rights, told Yahoo News he too joined the effort to lobby Congress after learning from former colleagues that the administration was developing a plan to lift sanctions — and possibly arrange a summit between Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin — as part of an effort to achieve a “grand bargain” with Moscow. “It would have been a win-win for Moscow,” said Malinowski,

So there is nothing anonymous here, no question about what people did and who did it.  And it ain’t pretty.

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