Republicans Successfully Block Efforts to Keep Sanctions on Russian Businesses

Republicans Successfully Block Efforts to Keep Sanctions on Russian Businesses January 16, 2019

No, of course this doesn’t seem like the actions of a party more interested in the well being of a hostile foreign power than that of our own nation.

Or does it?

So President Trump has balked at the notion of continuing sanctions against his man-crush, Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Further, the Trump administration has pushed back against efforts by Democrats to stop the Treasury Department from loosening sanctions on several Russian companies.

They sought to use a resolution of disapproval to block Treasury’s sanctions relaxation on EN+ Group Plc, JSC EuroSibEnergo, and United Co. Rusal Plc, which have all been linked to Kremlin-backed oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says he was able to negotiate deals with those companies to reduce Mr. Deripaska’s control, which puts them above the sanctions bar.

Because the word of Kremlin-backed players is always super-reliable, at least in the world of Trump.

This is not the first time President Trump or some of his seedier administration members have stacked the decks in favor of Mother Russia.

President Obama hit Russia with stiff sanctions in response to their interference in the 2016 election.

Even though there is ample evidence and the U.S. intelligence community has been in full agreement, in regards to Russia’s activities during the election, President Trump has consistently parroted the pro-Russian line, denying their involvement, or suggesting there may be others.

He has pushed back against efforts to further sanction Russia. He has upped his pro-Russia rhetoric, to the point of even standing on the world stage and giving simpering approval to the word of a former KGB agent, and throwing our intelligence community under the bus.

And what about his efforts to keep all of his communications with Putin hidden from even senior administration staff, to the point of confiscating notes from staff?

I don’t know how a Russian asset would act any differently.

Democrats had hoped to send a message by blocking the easing of those sanctions, but in the end, they only had 57 votes in the Senate.

There were 11 Republicans who joined with their Democrat colleagues, but it would have required 60 votes to make it happen.

“Do you believe America should take a tough line on Putin or do you think we should go easy on Putin and his cronies?” said Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, framing the vote as a swat at Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

If you’re Donald Trump, or all but 11 Republicans in the Senate, they think Putin and Russia deserve to be coddled and protected.


In the 57-42 vote, some of the Republicans that joined with Democrats to try and remain tough on Russia included: Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colorado), Marco Rubio (Florida), Tom Cotton (Arkansas), Martha McSally (Arizona), Josh Hawley (Missouri), and Ben Sasse (Nebraska).

Good for them.

They may disappoint at various points in their careers and in different ways, but this was a bipartisan move that was done for the right purpose.

With this win under their belts, watch the gutless group of Republicans, including Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, to see what other moves they make to assure Russia keeps the upper hand over the United States.

Then plan your future votes accordingly.


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  • John225

    Good for the 11. Maybe more will see their courage and do the right thing.

    Body language is an interesting thing. When Trump shakes hands with Putin for the first time in Hamburg he offers Putin his hand palm up or in the subservient posture and Putin accepts palm down or in the dominant posture. Such things are consciously modified by politicians to give the right impression so this also indicates Trumps inexperience.

    I am worried that without Jim Mattis, Trump will give Putin his wildest dream and withdraw the US from NATO effectively destroying the NATO alliance. The alliance that has held Russian aggression in check for 70 years. This would be the clearest indication yet that Trump is a Russian Asset.

    If Trump holds the Nuclear launch codes does the US currently have a nuclear deterrent against Russia? Russia has conducted drills in Venezuela with Nuclear capable bombers and is developing a bomber base there. Russia has developed hypersonic nuclear missiles capable of penetrating US missile defenses. These are short range weapons which would launch from bombers. So has Russia quietly put in place a first strike capability and neutralized the retaliatory capability of the US? If the US exits NATO Europe would do nothing but pontificate about any military action Russia takes against the US.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    All good points. Thank you for highlighting them.

  • Ronald Langdon

    The only activities from the Russians during the election came from Obama and Hilary and Doj and FBI. Susan still reads only MSM second hand conspiracies LOL so sad. Trump has much harder on Rusiaa than any of the other Presidents. No matter what the truth is when you hate someone you can never tell the truth about them .Always cynical,always slanderous,always deceiving others.

  • chemical

    I got a good laugh out of your comment — accusing Susan of posting “second hand conspiracies”, coming from a Trump supporter? This isn’t the place for baseless conspiracy theories. If you’re looking for baseless conspiracy theories, well, I’m sure you have Breitbart and 4chan’s /pol/ bookmarked.

  • Ronald Langdon

    It is baseless conspriacy theories when a writer uses main stream media for their souce of info!!!

  • Ellen Elmore

    Ronald, If you are a Trump supporter you shouldn’t be reading Patheos. Use Fox News for all of your information. They willingly lie about Trump daily. But to you it will be the truth. I am a former Republican who is now and Independent because of Trump. Reading Susan Wright’s commentaries is one of the few political highlights of my day. She is ALWAYS right. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  • chemical

    I wouldn’t say Susan is always right, but at least when I disagree with her, her opinion is at least informed and not based on a pack of lies.

  • Ronald Langdon

    I guess we all know the saying that the wheels of justice turn slowly! Eventually the truth will be discovered regardless of which side we choose. I look for objective, independent news and try not to follow outlets that give me what I like to hear just to feed my own preferences. Certainly just a path to deception and not looking for the truth!! Thats why I like read different points of view and express my opinion after viewing or listening to others.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Then you have removed ALL sources of information. Certainly we cannot rely on the word of Trump or any Democrat or Republican because both parties have now been caught in so many intentional lies told for the purpose of partisan gain and gamesmanship.

    We cannot rely on 4-chan or Huffpo either. Nor on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, etc.

    You just concluded that relying on other than personal opinion or the opinions of our “friends” is ‘just conspiracy’.

    In other words you are unable to sift out valid news from the ‘fake news’ and don’t believe anyone else is either.

  • chemical

    Then you have removed ALL sources of information.

    Ha! That was the point, right? Vote Trump to “trigger the libtards”, then when things start going south for them because they voted for a buffoon on Vladimir Putin’s payroll, they stick their heads in the sand so they don’t have to hear about it.

  • John225

    Len Blavatnik is an interesting character. He owns about 10% of Rusal the company at the heart of the sanctions thing. He has ties to other Russian oligarchs close to Putin who between them own 69% of Rusal. His US citizenship makes it legal for him to make political contributions. In 2016 his contributions jumped an order of magnitude to $6.35 million and became mostly to Republicans. The Mitch McConnell associated PAC (GOP leadership fund) has benefited to the tune of $3.5 million by contributions from Blavatnik holding companies and Trumps Inaugural Committee received $1 million.
    It would be interesting to see if there is a link between NRA contributions and voting paterns.

  • Ronald Langdon

    There are many news outlets apart from TV. that are not owned by a multimillionaire that control the bias of news and have an agenda . Most MSM news are owned by Democratic socialist-communists anti-Trump multimillionaires–As well as twitter,facebook.Google,etc who have and are still censoring what they want the public to see and read and have political agendas

  • IllinoisPatriot

    I agree it would be interesting – I’m betting that Mueller has already covered those bases, though. It’s a fairly obvious road to go down – and perhaps there’s a tie between the Mueller / FBI “meddling” portion of the investigation and large campaign donations tied closely to Putin and his oligarchs.

  • Barros Serrano

    In this case, as the wheels turn slowly, dire threats to this country increase. Every day Russia advances, this country deteriorates, and Trumpolini gets crazier and crazier…

    It has become URGENT that the Orange Narcissist be removed quickly. We cannot afford any more of this nonsense.

    I’ve been a highly partisan Democrat for a long time, but along with the Democrats I know, I have come to long for the days when an electoral loss meant we got a Republican like Dubya or Romney whose policies we don’t like but who doesn’t empower our enemies!!!

    The Orange New York Mob Boss is in a whole ‘nother category.

  • Barros Serrano

    Those who spew the anti-mainstream media line think we should get our info from Alex Jones and Ann Coulter. We can trust THEM.

  • Barros Serrano

    Pure propaganda dookie. Plenty of evidence is revealed daily confirming that Trumpusconi is a traitor who is acting in the interests of Russia. None of this evidence is created by the mainstream media; it is all revealed by FBI investigation.

    Are you rightwing nuts now going to start railing against the “mainstream FBI”? Ooooh is the FBI the “deep state”?

    Turn off Alex Jones and seek mental health services.

  • Ronald Langdon

    you seem to forget that Trump joins a list shut-downs with other Presidents of all stripes