Maxine Waters demands answers from Mnuchin, Tillerson for inactivity on Russia sanctions

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) demanded answers from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this week, criticizing their inaction on sanctioning Russia. 

Waters, the ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, wrote a letter to Tillerson and Mnuchin for failing to provide President Trump with enough information to sanction Russian individuals conducting business with state intelligence and defense. 

“Most of all, I find it preposterous that it is the State Department’s position that the legislation has served as such a deterrent that not one person or entity is engaged in a significant transaction with the Russian defense or intelligence sectors,” Waters said in a statement. 

The Trump administration missed a Monday deadline to impose new sanctions on foreign firms and governments doing business with Russia’s defense and intelligence sector, as required by the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) but said the measure was already deterring Russian defense work. 


CAATSA, which passed by huge margins in Congress in August in response to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, allows the president to postpone sanctions on individuals as long as business in the sectors is declining and he notifies the proper congressional committees by the bill’s 180-day deadlines. 

The State Department said that the law passed by Congress last summer has already prevented a windfall of cash from going to Russia.

Waters called that statement “baffling.”

“I also find it hard to believe your departments, working in coordination with the intelligence community, have been unable to identify any such person or furnish such information to the president,” she said. 

The Treasury released a report on Monday listing individuals with close business ties to the Kremlin in accordance with CAATSA, but made clear that it was not a sanctions list, though the individuals were at risk for future sanctions. 

Tags Donald Trump Maxine Waters Rex Tillerson

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