State Department issues guidance on Russia sanctions

State Department issues guidance on Russia sanctions
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The Trump administration has publicly released a list of more than three dozen Russian entities and individuals whom other countries and companies may soon be barred from doing business with under a sanctions law intended to punish Moscow for its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and actions in Crimea.

The announcement came weeks after the Trump administration blew past a key Oct. 1 deadline to specify which individuals or entities were part of Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors, and would thus be targeted by sanctions passed by Congress this summer and signed by Trump in early August.

That sanctions legislation — which also imposed penalties on Iran and North Korea — directed the president to issue guidance on the persons or entities subject to sanctions within 60 days of the measure’s signing.

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Facing mounting criticism over the delay of the guidance, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonHeather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job Trump administration’s top European diplomat to resign in February Pompeo planning to meet with Pat Roberts amid 2020 Senate speculation MORE approved the list of sanctioned individuals and entities on Thursday and authorized its release to members of Congress, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.

That list was made public on Friday, according to State Department officials, who noted that the U.S. would work with allies and partners in the coming months to identify transactions that may be problematic once the sanctions take effect.

The guidance is intended to clarify to businesses, lawmakers and foreign governments how they can avoid running afoul of the sanctions when they officially go into effect on Jan. 29.

In a letter to Trump on Wednesday, 20 House Democrats demanded that the president move forward with implementing the sanctions and requested an explanation for why the administration had flouted the Oct. 1 deadline.

Trump begrudgingly signed the measure in August, arguing that the sanctions bill infringed on the president's ability to craft foreign policy and negotiate with other countries.