State Department Issues Russia Sanctions Guidance After Delay

The State Department on Thursday issued guidance on how it plans to implement new sanctions against Russia, more than three weeks after the deadline imposed by legislation that Congress passed and President Trump signed. The guidance, which a congressional source provided to The Daily Beast, was issued shortly after Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) spoke by phone with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan to inquire about the weeks-long delay. “The guidance provided today by the State Department is a good first step in responsibly implementing a very complex piece of legislation, and I appreciate Secretary Tillerson’s attention to this important issue,” Corker said in a statement obtained by The Daily Beast. “Congress will expect thorough and timely consultation until full implementation is complete.” Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, spoke by phone with Sullivan earlier Thursday in an effort to understand whether the administration’s delay was intentional. Under the sanctions law that Congress passed nearly unanimously and Trump reluctantly signed in early August, the administration was tasked with naming, by Oct. 1, the individuals and entities from Russia’s intelligence and defense sectors who would be sanctioned. Lawmakers have questioned the Trump administration on the delay, but had said they were continuously being stonewalled. The White House claimed on Wednesday that an “interagency review” was responsible for the holdup. In July, the administration was engaged in active efforts to weaken a key mechanism in the legislation that would allow Congress to review any attempts by the executive branch to scale back or ramp up the sanctions.

—Andrew Desiderio