Published On: Mon, Apr 16th, 2018

Trump backpedals on new Russian sanctions, contradicting Haley

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President Trump didn’t issue additional sanctions against Russia Monday, directly contradicting an announcement by his United Nations ambassador. 


U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Sunday night that sanctions would be announced Monday against Russian manufacturers who produced equipment believed to have been used by the Syrian government in its deadly chemical attacks on its own people.


But, as Moscow railed against the upcoming sanctions, Trump backpedaled on the announcement, telling his national security advisers late Sunday that he wasn’t comfortable with imposing them, several people familiar with the matter told the Washington Post. The sources said Trump was upset by Haley’s announcement.


Haley made “an error that needs to be mopped up,” one source said. 

Comey calls Trump ‘morally unfit to be President’ in interview


At some point after Haley’s announcement, the White House informed the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., that sanctions were actually not coming Monday, according to an embassy official.  


Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted Haley’s announcement as premature. 


“We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” Sanders said in a statement.  


Trump’s sanctions reluctance comes on the heels of a U.S. missile strike against Syria in retaliation for a chemical attack that left at least 40 people dead in a rebel-controlled Damascus suburb on April 7.  

Nikki Haley says U.S. will hit Russia with new sanctions

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley listens during a UN Security Council meeting on Saturday.

(HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP/Getty Images)


In announcing the missile strike Friday night, Trump faulted Russia and Iran for defending Syrian President Bashar Assad, questioning why any nation “wants to be associated with the mass murder of innocent men, women and children.”


On the flipside, Trump has advocated for better relations with the Kremlin, drawing suspicion from Democrats who point to the fact that the President’s campaign is under investigation for possible collusion with the Russian government. 


The Friday night missile strike, which was carried out with Britian and France, took out several chemical weapons storage and research facilities in the greater Damascus area.


Trump himself hinted in his strike announcement that he would be willing to slap sanctions on Russia over its support for the Assad regime, vowing to respond with “all instruments of our national power: military, economic and diplomatic.” It was not clear why Trump didn’t want to act on that pledge immediately. 


The Kremlin condemned the missile strike, and made an ominous pledge to fight back.   


“Again, we are being threatened,” Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., said after the strike. “We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences.”

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