About those Russia sanctions …

This isn’t complicated.


Just so we’re clear, the law wasn’t intended to make sanctions on Russia optional. What’s more, this isn’t the first time the president and his team have dragged their feet on implementing congressionally approved sanctions on the country that attacked U.S. elections in 2016.

It helps explain why some lawmakers aren’t exactly pleased this morning. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the ranking member on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said on Twitter this morning, “Congress voted 517-5 to impose sanctions on Russia. The President decides to ignore that law. Folks that is a constitutional crisis. There should be outrage in every corner of this country.”


So to recap, the head of America’s foreign intelligence agency is suggesting Russia will attempt to do what it did in the 2016 election again in 2018 and that he hasn’t “seen a significant decrease in their activity.” But then the State Department announces that it doesn’t need to impose the sanctions that were meant to punish that behavior because the legislation is already serving as a deterrent?

The sanctions themselves specifically target those who do business with Russian defense and intelligence firms, aiming to harm Russia’s economy. The State Department argues that foreign governments have indeed backed out of doing such business because of the mere threat of sanctions. But if the overall goal is to deter future election interference, Pompeo seems to argue that hasn’t really happened.