Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Tom Perez on Wednesday attacked President Trump over reports that his administration may return two Russian compounds in the U.S. that were seized by former President Barack Obama as a punishment for election meddling.
“President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Harris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia Biden to stump with McAuliffe Tuesday MORE closed those two compounds because of Russia’s attacks on our democracy,” he said in a statement. “Trump’s willingness to give them back shows where his allegiances are: with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and not with the American people."
"Trump would put Americans at risk and send an unmistakable message to foreign powers that attacks on our election process will go unpunished,” he added.
The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that Trump’s administration is leaning toward returning a pair of Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York.
Obama seized the properties from Kremlin control in December as retribution for its meddling in the 2016 presidential race. The former president also ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from America amid findings by the U.S. intelligence community that Moscow sough to tilt last year’s election in Trump’s favor.
A former adviser to Obama told the Post that they had “no intention” of returning the compounds to Russia.
Trump’s administration had initially proposed returning the compounds to the Russians in exchange for permission to resume construction on a U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. The Post reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told top Russian diplomats last month that the return of the compounds no longer hinged on completing the consulate.
The FBI and at four congressional committees are probing Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.