White House: ‘Interagency Review’ Holding Up Russia Sanctions

The Trump administration says an “interagency review” is holding up the implementation of new sanctions against Russia that the president signed into law more than two months ago. The administration blew past an Oct. 1 deadline to issue guidance on implementation of the sanctions, including naming the individuals and entities from Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors who will be targeted by the sanctions. “As a result of the legislation the president signed in August, Treasury updated sanctions last month,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “The State Department’s portion is undergoing an interagency review and will be announced soon.” Trump reluctantly signed the legislation on Aug. 2 after it was approved nearly unanimously in both houses of Congress. Lawmakers have tried to seek answers from the administration on the delay—but to no avail. “If they don’t cooperate, then further actions need to be taken,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told The Daily Beast on Monday. But aside from blocking Pentagon nominees or holding up key legislation, Congress is relatively powerless in compelling the administration to act on the issue.

—Andrew Desiderio