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Rep. Maxine Waters’ Statement on Reports that President Trump may Reverse Sanctions and Return Compounds to Russia

June 1, 2017
Press Release


June 1, 2017

Contact: Twaun Samuel or Rykia Dorsey

Phone: (202) 225-2201


Rep. Maxine Waters’ Statement on Reports that President Trump may Reverse Sanctions and Return Compounds to Russia

Washington, D.C. -- Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43), Ranking Member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement today in response to reports that Donald Trump may reverse sanctions imposed on Russia and give back properties the Obama administration forced the Russians to vacate as punishment for Russia’s interference in the 2016 election:

“I am stunned by the audacity of this President that he would dare reverse any form of the punishments imposed on Russia for election meddling when he and members of his team are under scrutiny for coordinating with Russian operatives to undermine our democracy. 

“For those keeping track, this President fired the FBI director who was investigating his campaign’s ties to Russia, admitted on national television that he did so because of his dissatisfaction with said investigation, met with Russian officials the next day during which he gave them classified information, and still to this day refuses to fully acknowledge the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him prevail.  This all comes as we learn more each day about the types of conversations Trump’s Kremlin Klan had with the Russian ambassador – conversations that they were all so anxious to conceal from public scrutiny. 

“Last week, Trump’s National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn reportedly said the President is ‘looking at’ changes to the economic sanctions imposed on Russia (The Hill 5/25/17).  As I have long said, I strongly suspect this is all about the sanctions.  The Russians want the sanctions lifted; and they, along with so many in Trump’s camp, possibly including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who previously served as CEO of ExxonMobil and negotiated a multi-billion dollar deal with Russia to drill in the Russian Arctic, could stand to make a lot of money if the United States lifts them.

“In addition to reports that the administration is considering lifting the economic sanctions, the Washington Post is now reporting that the Trump administration is considering giving back to the Russians a 14-acre estate in Long Island, New York, and what is described as a ‘luxurious’ 45-acre property in Maryland, both of which were previously used as diplomatic compounds and believed to be used by the Russians for intelligence purposes. The Obama administration ordered the Russians to vacate those compounds late last year as punishment for Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.  Those compounds had enjoyed diplomatic immunity, which meant that U.S. law enforcement could not enter and activities that took place there could escape U.S. prosecution.  If the reports are true and Donald Trump intends to reverse Obama era punishments for Russia’s meddling in the election as well as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, then you can be sure that I will fight tooth and nail to stop him. 

“There is a reason that Donald Trump will never criticize Vladimir Putin.  There is a reason so many people serving in Donald Trump’s administration or connected to Donald Trump's campaign have ties to Russia.  There is a reason Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in response to Putin’s request.[1]  There is a reason that Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner met with a Russian banker, and there is a reason Kushner, former Trump National Security Advisor Mike Flynn, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Trump’s former campaign advisor Carter Page hid their meetings with the Russian ambassador.  There is a reason that, even after being caught in a lie about meeting with the Russian ambassador once, it now appears that Jeff Sessions failed to come clean and reveal yet another previously undisclosed meeting with Ambassador Kislyak.[2]

“I am so thoroughly disgusted with this presidency. I will fight day and night to hold Trump accountable.  I would ask all patriots in Congress who swore an oath to the Constitution to join me in protecting our democracy.”