Lest We Forget Russiagate Open Thread: Hey, What About Those “Sanctions”?

Last summer, Congress passed bipartisan legislation — the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act — that called for new sanctions against entities conducting “significant” business with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors.

The legislation also called on the Trump administration to compile what had come to be referred to as the “Kremlin report” or “oligarch list” — a list of names of people well-connected to the Kremlin and within Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. The individuals wouldn’t face immediate penalties, but the list would essentially serve as a warning shot for Russian elites who could face penalties later.

Both the sanctions and the list of oligarchs were expected by Monday. Instead, the State Department informed Congress that it would not be adding sanctions, and the U.S. Treasury published a list not of Putin’s inner circle, but of people whose names appear on the Kremlin website and in Forbes’s 2017 list of the wealthiest Russians.

The confusing, and seemingly contradictory, moves highlight apparent chaos in U.S. sanctions policy when it comes to Russia, and they sparked criticism in both Moscow and Washington…

“What Treasury did here meets the kind of legal requirements of the report,” said Peter Harrell, a former senior State Department official who worked on sanctions. “But it clearly didn’t meet what Congress wanted out of this report — a sense of [which] Russian officials are really helping Putin’s regime.”

Harrell, now a senior fellow also with the Center for a New American Security, said the list was supposed to be a “naming and shaming exercise.” The administration “went with an approach that does the naming, but very clearly tries to avoid the shaming part of that by naming everyone,” he said…

The Kremlin, for its part, seemed unworried by the latest developments in Washington…

Laziest batch of kleptocratic revanchists since… I dunno, the court of Charles X?

58 replies
  1. 1
    cain says:

    It is amazing to me that this situation exists at all and that we have a voting populace that doesn’t give a shit.

  2. 2
    MisterForkbeard says:

    I like the part where Trump’s list of Putin oligarch’s includes people who are active Putin enemies.

    I wonder if this is the first step on imposing sanctions on only Putin’s adversaries within Russia. Because I’m pretty sure Trump would do that.

  3. 3
    TenguPhule says:

    Breaking news, Republican Congress Critters just got into a major train accident. Members of House and Senate.

    Via Wapo. Story Developing.

    Rooting for massive casualties.

  4. 4

    Still don’t get the term “clickservative”.

  5. 5
    tobie says:

    Don’t forget that CIA Director Mike Pompeo also reportedly met last week with the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service. The guy is on a list of sanctioned individuals normally not let into the country.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    Benjamin Applebaum

    Also the driver is not OK. Although fortunately there is on the scene an entire trainload of experts in administering ‘thoughts and prayers.’

    They are reporting that one person who was in the cab of the truck died.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    Alas, The Republicans survived.

    Driver of the dump truck hit may have died.


  8. 8
    mezz says:

    OH MAKE MY HEART THROB: A REFERENCE TO (as a student once asked) “CHUCK EX”

  9. 9
    cain says:

    Perhaps they would see it as a sign from God?

  10. 10
    Mike in NC says:

    @TenguPhule: MSNBC headline: Train carrying Republicans to retreat hits trash truck. No irony there! Sadly, it also reports no injury to Speaker Ryan (just in case anybody not related cares).

  11. 11
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I suspect this has more to do with serving in the minority than losing his own seat, but… Wow

    Trey Gowdy‏Verified account @ TGowdySC
    There is a time to come and a time to go. This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system

    Seems like only yesterday Dave Weigel was writing him mash notes, full of hope and promise that he would get to the bottom of Susan Rice’s talking points.

  12. 12
    TenguPhule says:


    Perhaps they would see it as a sign from God?

    Seeing as they all survived while an innocent person died, I’d hate to think what kind of sign they’d take it for.

    “Your Conservative Jihad against the Liberals is approved. I will sort them out.” //

  13. 13
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    Still don’t get the term “clickservative”.

    Websites that do click bait articles targeting conservatives.

  14. 14
    bemused says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    They’re bailing and cashing out in bunches.

  15. 15
    Amaranthine RBG says:


    I was just going to post that. Heh.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    So NBC is reporting an AMTRAK train carrying GOP members of Congress on their way to a retreat in West Virginia hit a truck. So many jokes there but since someone has died (doesn’t appear to be be a member) it feels a little tacky.

  17. 17
    ET says:

    And the just resigned CDC head buying tobacco stocks after she was on the job seems like an Onion article. But it isn’t.

  18. 18
    Central Planning says:

    How is the president not signing a bill a constitutional crisis? Did I missing something in the Constitution that said bills passed with less than 10 “No” votes must be signed?

    They could just override his veto, but I’m sure that would never happen.

  19. 19
    NotMax says:

    Slap Buss on the wrist.

  20. 20

    Two top Russian spy chiefs traveled to Washington last week to discuss counterterrorism issues with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, but the unusual visit also raised concerns among some U.S. officials that Moscow could interpret the encounter as a sign the Trump administration is willing to move beyond the issue of election interference, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said.

    Pompeo met with Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service or SVR, and Alexander Bortnikov, who runs the FSB, which is the main successor to the Soviet-era security service the KGB. The head of Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU, also came to Washington, though it’s not clear that he met with Pompeo.

    This would look a lot less suspicious if the President’s campaign team weren’t under investigation for working with Russia during the election, if the President were putting the sanctions into effect, and if he had just once said that Russia may not be our bff.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @ET: yeah the news went from “no serious injuries” to a fatality in a few minutes

  22. 22
    NotMax says:

    @Cheryl Rofer

    You can bet the farm they were talking Turkey.

  23. 23
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @tobie: just a team meeting.

  24. 24
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Central Planning: He didn’t veto it. He actually signed the law dictating more sanctions. He just decided he didn’t want to actually do it (and declared that he wouldn’t) and then literally copied the “Putin’s Oligarch’s and Allies List” from a list of the richest people in Russia that was available online from Forbes.

    So given the two different requirements of the law he signed into practice, Trump completely bailed on one and legally submitted a “list” for the other that completely violates the express intent of the law on the other requirement. And he broke that law in favor of helping a country that attacked our own elections to get Trump elected and that Trump has shown large amounts of favoritism for in the past.

    So yes, this looks awfully corrupt and possibly illegal, though I suspect the “I’m just not going to enforce the law” argument will have just enough merit that Trump can’t get prosecuted for it. It IS however something Congress should deal with, and they won’t.

  25. 25
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @Central Planning: he didn’t pocket veto the bill. He signed it and is now ignoring it because he is a Russian asset. But you knew that.

  26. 26
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Central Planning:

    He needs to either sign or veto it, not leave it in limbo. It’s not a constitutional crisis, merely another sign that Trump has no clue what his fucking job is.

    ETA: Never mind, other people with actual facts in hand chimed in. ☺️

  27. 27
    mvr says:

    @Central Planning: Uh, I believe he signed that bill. He’s just not implementing it.

  28. 28
    WaterGirl says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    This is the right time, for me, to leave politics and return to the justice system

    I hope “return to the justice system” is a reference to the outcome of Mueller’s investigation,

  29. 29
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    She was selected by Tom Price.

  30. 30
    trnc says:

    Congress orders Trump to punish Putin—for cyberattacking American democracy to help Trump win.

    In return, Trump chooses to defy Congress, refuses to punish Putin, praises him relentlessly, and does nothing to deter future cyberattacks.

    There’s no innocent explanation.

    Sure there is. NPR would be happy for Raj Shah to tell you all about it.

  31. 31
    glory b says:

    Breaking fro WaPo, Trey Gowdy isn’t seeking reelection!

  32. 32
    glory b says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Beat me too it.

    So, he’s going back to being a good ol’ country DA?

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:


    Yes, return to the justice system as a “client.”

  34. 34
    glory b says:

    @trnc: I thought you would say Jonathan “Constitutional crisis? There’s no constitutional crisis/Let me tell you why Meuller has a conflict” Turley said it.

  35. 35
    MCA1 says:

    @ET: Yes. It almost stands on its own with no comment in terms of symbolism, anyway. I mean, really? A literal GOP congressional trainwreck with an actual dump truck. Too heavy handed to be the work of a higher power.

  36. 36
    Jeffro says:


    Breaking news, Republican Congress Critters just got into a major train accident. Members of House and Senate.

    Via Wapo. Story Developing.

    Rooting for massive casualties.

    Baseball field shootings, train crashes…karma is coming for you, GOP enablers. Count on it.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:


    Would fit right in as a parable preached from the pulpit at the Church of Ed Wood.

  38. 38
    NorthLeft12 says:

    @Central Planning: Yeah, you might normally expect Congress to quickly repass a bill with that much support and override the veto……but then these are the times we live in. The Repubs have zero interest in doing anything that would embarrass King Deadbeat.

  39. 39
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @NorthLeft12: Again, there’s no veto. Trump signed the law. He’s simply refusing to actually follow the law.

    Ordinarily, you’d get a public censure from Congress or this would become another item on the impeachment list. Republicans will do neither because they’re all-in on our dictator-in-chief.

  40. 40
    MCA1 says:

    Since the thread’s open, and we’ve all already discussed the fact that not implementing the sanctions bill is yet another completely unsurprising bit of evidence that Colbert’s description of “Putin’s c0(kholster” is the most apt there is, I thought I’d drop some polling:


    It’s a state-by-state breakout of the continually dismal but not nearly as low as it should be weekly Gallup national approval level polling. It’s amazing that Dotard hasn’t crashed through 30% and stayed there yet, and maybe he just never will, ’cause evidently the rubes in North Dakota and Cole’s home state just can’t quit him and his con.

    Nonetheless, when looking at these numbers, it appears what’s taking place is the opposite of what I’d feared may be the case. I’d feared that the disapproval in NY and California was so high it was skewing the national numbers, while Drumpf remained in good position in the traditional swing states and places where he surprised in ’16. Not so. -11 in PA. -14 in WI and NC. -15 in MI. -12 in Floriduh, AZ and GA. And the shocker: 39% approval to 54% disapproval in…Texas. TEXAS! He’s even underwater in Misery.

    Sitting president only one year into term, has the sort of ratings that would see him likely lose by 200+ EV’s if a re-election were to happen today. Gives me hope that all is not lost/broken.

  41. 41
    WaterGirl says:

    According to Steve Benen, it looks like chief of staff Kelly crossed the line in communications with the DOJ.

    Discussions between Kelly and Justice Department officials related to “a criminal and counterintelligence investigation in which the White House and President have equities and a conflict of interest” would be strictly off limits, Andy Wright, associate White House counsel to President Barack Obama, told TPM.

  42. 42
    Bex says:

    @glory b: Seems kind of sudden. Getting out ahead of a scandal?

  43. 43
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @WaterGirl: Are these the same communications in which Kelly railed about all the awful stuff the FBI was doing and implored them to fix it… and then ended the meeting with a wink and “But please don’t do anything unethical or illegal”?

    @Bex: Probably not? Likely has the same reason as Chaffetz – it’s not fun (and possibly legally imperiling, if Trump’s slow-motion-coup and dictatorship doesn’t work) to not be able to attack Hillary all the time, and be forced to cover up and defend Trump.

    Not when he can get a job as a Fox/Breitbart/Koch media person and beat the rush when a ton of other reps lose their seats in November.

  44. 44
    WaterGirl says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I suspect it is the same phone call (though from the article it sounds like more than one), but it appears that just having the phone calls was in violation of the rules/law, so my guess is that wink and a nod won’t help him at all if Mueller takes a look at this.

  45. 45
    scuffletuffle says:

    @cain: how do you suggest we register our displeasure in a way that will be both noticed and acted upon by this administration?

  46. 46
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @WaterGirl: True, though “this conversation is off limits” doesn’t mean it’s illegal or prosecutable… just inadvisable.

    It’s certainly worse than Bill Clinton’s meeting with the AG on the tarmac, given that both of them deny they discussed the case at all. In this case, they’re openly and explicitly admitting they discussed the case… and that they were trying to get it resolved.

  47. 47
    SFAW says:

    Somebody should just tell Fuckhead-in-Chief that ignoring the sanctions law is EXACTLY WHAT OBAMA AND HITLARY WOULD DO, because of their terrible, terrifying corruption.

  48. 48
    WaterGirl says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Did you read the article?

  49. 49


    there’s enough voters who DO care, but the Republicans have rigged control of Congress via Gerrymandering (and a lopsided Senate seating that favors smaller Red states) to where the ones in control of government DO NOT FUCKING CARE.

  50. 50
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @WaterGirl: Fraid not. At work, couldn’t get into it. :(

  51. 51
    catclub says:


    Because I’m pretty sure Trump would do that.

    while in the US, already, the whistleblower either gets the longest prison term, or is the only one to serve time at all. Punishment of the innocent is a longtime tradition all over.

  52. 52
    randy khan says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    I was talking with someone in my office about this earlier. I figure that the retirements fall into two categories: People who think they’re going to lose and would rather go out on their own terms, and people who’ve discovered that have all three branches in Republican hands is not as much fun as they thought it would be. I’m pretty sure Gowdy’s in the latter category – he’s crazy, but not totally around the bend, and realizes that the totally around the bend caucus won’t play nice even when doing so would be to their benefit. (My theory is that the House Republicans, in particular, are divided into three groups: not really crazy (the smallest group), crazy, and around the bend crazy; that none of the groups is big enough to command a majority in the caucus; and that the not really crazy group and crazy group can’t get to 218 without at least some around the bend crazy people.)

  53. 53
    Yutsano says:

    @randy khan: The not really crazies and the Democrats could actually form a working coalition if ZEGS wasn’t interested in his Hastert rule on steroids.

  54. 54
    chopper says:

    @Central Planning:

    he did sign it. even if he didn’t, it wouldn’t have been a pocket veto and this would have automatically become law.

    he’s just reusing to enforce any part of it.

  55. 55
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Browenbeck shows more evidence that Republicans are the to just grandstand and don’t give a shit about goverance.


    Outgoing Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback says the state’s prisons, hospitals and other facilities are in disrepair after years of underfunding.
    Brownback pushed back on the suggestion that he had responsibility for the underfunding.

    “For 155 years? No,” said Brownback. Kansas marked its 157th year of statehood Monday.

    Pressed again on the fact that he had been governor for seven years, Brownback replied, “And we got a new prison, didn’t we?”

  56. 56
    randy khan says:

    @Yutsano: The not really crazies and the Democrats could actually form a working coalition if ZEGS wasn’t interested in his Hastert rule on steroids.


  57. 57
    terry chay says:

    Tip of the Day. Add #18 to your pie filter and save yourself time down the road.

  58. 58
    terry chay says:

    @MCA1: He will crash through that barrier if/when the economy tanks. The economy is holding his numbers up. I think he’s the only president in modern history who’s numbers are lower than the people’s feelings on the economy.

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