Executive Intelligence Review


‘Kremlin Report’ Lists 210 Russian ‘Adversaries,’ But Trump Clips CAATSA Claws

Jan. 30, 2018 (EIRNS)—Under the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA), the Trump Administration had 180 days to prepare a list of Russian people and entities for possible sanctions. The bill was reluctantly signed by President Trump in August, despite his public opposition to a law drawn up with the stated intent of preventing him from reestablishing friendly relations with Russia. Rather than see his veto overridden by an out-of-control Congress, Trump included in his “signing statement” that the legislation was “seriously flawed.”

Late yesterday, and just making the deadline, Steven Mnuchin’s Treasury Department issued a list, the so-called “Kremlin Report,” as required by the law. But rather than imposing any sanctions, the Trump Administration simply issued a list that included practically every member of the Putin government and every businessman worth over $1 billion. A Treasury official told BuzzFeed that the names of “billionaires” were taken from a Forbes list of the richest Russian citizens.

The CAATSA wording is that the report is required to identify

“senior political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.”

The law has instructions on how to assess all these people and their relation to President Vladimir Putin, and others of the political class. Trump complied with the letter of the law by producing the list—thus far, but no farther.

President Putin, speaking in Moscow at a campaign event today, said that it was clearly a “hostile step” in relations, but joked that he felt “slighted” that he was not included on the list. As for response, the President said that Russia would be guided by the proverb: “The dog barks, but the caravan rolls on.”

It looks as though Treasury “simply copied the Kremlin phone book” to assemble the names, said Senator Konstanin Kosachev, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council. Other Russian leaders issued strong objections, making the obvious point that the law and the list it required were intended to undermine U.S.-Russia relations.

The McCarthyite fanatics in the Congress went berserk. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Trump had “let Russia off the hook yet again. I’m fed up waiting for this administration to protect our country and our elections.” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) not only objected to Trump’s not imposing more sanctions, but also denounced him for allowing Sergey Naryshkin, the head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service, who is currently under sanctions, to visit the United States last week—albeit Naryshkin’s purpose was to meet with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to collaborate in the war against terror. “We sanctioned the head of their intelligence and then the Trump administration invites him to waltz through our front door,” Schumer ranted, calling it an “extreme dereliction of duty by President Trump, who seems more intent on undermining the rule of law in this country than standing up to Putin.”