Schiff: Trump shouldn’t return compounds to Russia

Schiff: Trump shouldn’t return compounds to Russia
© Greg Nash

Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffTrump says lawmakers should censure Schiff Schiff says committees will eventually make impeachment inquiry transcripts public The comments and actions of Schiff demand his formal censure MORE (D-Calif.) on Wednesday urged President Trump not to return two diplomatic compounds previously seized from Kremlin control back to Russia.

“@POTUS should not return properties Russians used for espionage that were shuttered after they interfered in our election,” he tweeted. “Why reward them?”

The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that Trump’s administration is leaning toward returning a pair of Russian diplomatic compounds currently under federal control in Maryland and New York.

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The two properties were seized from Moscow as retribution for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Brent Budowsky: To Bush and Obama — speak out on Trump Graham on Syria: Trump appears 'hell-bent' on repeating Obama's mistakes in Iraq MORE took the compounds, which previously enjoyed diplomatic immunity, last December. He also ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from the U.S.

Obama’s move stemmed from U.S. intelligence community findings that the Kremlin sought to swing the 2016 race in Trump’s favor.

A former adviser to Obama told the Post that Obama had “no intention” of returning the compounds to Russia.

Russia reportedly did not retaliate due in part to former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who told Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in a phone call that things would change under Trump.

Trump’s administration had initially proposed returning the compounds to Russia in exchange for permission to resume construction on a U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.

The Post reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last month told top Russian diplomats that the compounds’ return was no longer contingent upon finishing the consulate.

The FBI and at least four congressional committees are probing Russian intrusions in the 2016 race, including potential collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.