Dems demand records from Mnuchin on lifting sanctions on Deripaska-tied firms

Dems demand records from Mnuchin on lifting sanctions on Deripaska-tied firms
© Anna Moneymaker

Three top House Democrats have formally requested documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to lift sanctions on companies connected to a prominent Russian oligarch with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinDems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle On The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars Former Sears holding company sues ex-CEO, Mnuchin and others over 'asset stripping' MORE on Tuesday, Reps. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersDems digging into Trump finances post-Mueller Michael Steele: A missed opportunity at holding banks accountable On The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars MORE (D-Calif.), Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment Dems digging into Trump finances post-Mueller MORE (D-Calif.) and Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDem House chairs: Mueller report 'does not exonerate the president' Live coverage: Frenzy in DC as Congress, White House brace for Mueller report House Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report MORE (D-N.Y.) asked for documents pertaining to the administration's decision to remove three companies previously controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska from a list of sanctioned firms. They described the terms of the agreement under which Treasury agreed to lift the sanctions as “unusual” and alleged that “many questions remain unanswered.”

The sanctions were initially imposed on the firms under a law aimed at punishing Russia for interfering in the 2016 election as a result of Deripaska’s connections to Putin.

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The administration announced in December that it would lift the sanctions on Deripaska’s aluminum company, United Co. Rusal, as well as En+ Group plc and JSC EuroSibEnergo, after Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership stake in each of the companies to below 50 percent.

The Treasury Department officially lifted the sanctions on Sunday.

The Democrats alleged Tuesday that, under the terms of the agreement, “Mr. Deripaska’s ownership stake, as well as benefits afforded to his associates, family members, and related entities, appears designed to allow him to retain significant influence, if not defacto control, over En+, Rusal, and ESE.”

The letter cites Deripaska’s close association with Putin as well as his ties to Paul ManafortPaul John ManafortIt is wrong to say 'no collusion' The Hill's Morning Report - Is impeachment back on the table? Nadler: I don't understand why Mueller didn't charge Donald Trump Jr., others in Trump Tower meeting MORE, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone MORE’s former campaign chairman who has been ensnared in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s investigation into Russian interference.

The lawmakers demanded copies of all documents relevant to the decision making process, “regardless of classification.” These include intelligence reporting, records, meeting minutes and agendas, electronic communications, memos, or other correspondence that discusses Deripaska and the decision to delist his firms. 

Tuesday’s letter represents the latest effort by House Democrats to leverage their new oversight powers to squeeze more information from the administration about the decision. Democrats hauled Mnuchin in to testify behind closed doors about the decision earlier this month, before the sanctions were formally lifted. 

Waters, Schiff and Engel chair the House Financial Services, Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, respectively.

They requested a response by Feb. 5.