The United States is expected to impose additional sanctions against Russia by the end of this week, the Washington Post reports. The sanctions will target oligarchs with ties to Vladimir Putin. It’s not clear how many Russians will be punished, but at least half a dozen are expected to be.
These sanctions aren’t earth-shaking, but they come on top of other strong actions Trump has taken against Russia. As the Post acknowledges;
The pending move from Treasury comes as the Trump administration takes an increasingly tough posture toward Moscow at the urging of the president’s senior aides and top U.S. allies.
Last week, the United States expelled 60 Russian spies and diplomats in response to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy, and his daughter, the largest expulsion of Russians in U.S. history.
In early March, the administration also slapped fresh sanctions on Russian government hackers and spy agencies for interfering in the 2016 election and the cyberattack.
Trump likes to say that “nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have.” He made this claim again yesterday during a press conference in which he demonstrated solidarity with the three Baltic states on Russia’s border.
I have not seen anyone make a serious argument that Trump’s claim is false.
For their part, the Russians seem to agree with Trump. The Post reports that Russian officials have expressed exasperation with the Trump administration. Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, said the “atmosphere in Washington is poison” (perhaps an unfortunate turn of phrase coming from the Russian government). “It’s a toxic atmosphere,” he told NBC News.
Yet John Brennan, surely the dumbest man ever to lead a U.S. intelligence agency, contends that Putin “may have something on [Trump] personally.” Whatever Putin may have, Trump clearly isn’t worried about it.