Trump Undermines Another Underling on Russian Sanctions


Trump told members of his national security team that he was not comfortable rolling out the additional sanctions, the Washington Post reported Monday. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Washington was "considering additional sanctions on Russian Federation, and a decision will be made in the near future".

The measure would instruct the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to report within 30 days on whether Syria has fully disclosed its chemical weapons stockpile.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson said the decision had been taken "behind closed doors" and much more scrutiny was needed of the objectives behind it. Sites near Damascus and Homs were hit on Saturday by the US, French and United Kingdom in response to the alleged chemical attack on Douma on 7 April.

Journalists were allowed access to the suspected attack sites on Monday, but the OPCW said Syrian and Russian authorities blocked the inspectors.

"With the political and diplomatic actions that we're taking [against Syria] now, we wanted their friends, Iran and Russian Federation, to know that we meant business and that they were going to be feeling the pain from this as well", Haley said at the time.

The new White House economic adviser apologized Tuesday to UN Ambassador Nikki Haley after suggesting she was suffering from "momentary confusion" when she announced over the weekend that new sanctions against Russian Federation were imminent.

The move signalled the West's resolve to return to diplomacy after a one-night military operation that hit sites Western officials said were linked to Syria's chemical weapons program.

"No. I think the issue here is we have a set of sanctions, and additional sanctions are under consideration but not been determined", Kudlow said. She said that the U.S. Treasury secretary "will be announcing those on Monday, if he hasn't already".

Syria has been locked in a civil war since 2011 that has killed at least 350,000 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Trump team chose to publicly characterize Haley's announcement as a misstatement.

In her position as the USA envoy to the United Nations, Haley has been the Trump administration's most vocal proponent of targeting Moscow with sanctions for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Three senior administration officials said there were several attempts to get Haley to back off or clarify her comments, but she refused. Syria war situation will remain unchanged till then.

Trump's choice of words recalled a similar claim associated with President George W. Bush following the US -led invasion of Iraq.

Responding to a motion proposed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she said it was right for MPs to be consulted on action, but outlined why it would have been wrong for her to recall parliament ahead of the action taken in response to the chemical attacks in Douma.