Unsanctioned Sanction Talks was published by US News just today. Within, author Hayley Hoefer discusses the political rumor that Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s national security advisor has illegally discussed lifting US sanctions on Russia with Moscow. This along with recent claims made by President Putin on his desire to “restore Russian-US relations based on the policies of the Trump Administration” brings a certain question to the surface; will the Trump Administration lift sanctions on Russia?
Now given that this is, in fact, a rumor, there is no clear indication of which sanctions Michael Flynn spoke of.
Let’s take a few guesses.
The most recent sanction put on Russia came as a result of the Obama administration reacting to Russia’s illegal involvement in the 2016 election. According to the Administration, the act was an example of “Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities.” The sanctions took the form of 35 Russian diplomats forced to leave the country within 72 hours.
Few of the other sanctions on Russia revolve largely around the issue of Russian intervention within Ukraine. One such sanction was authorized through Executive Order 13660, which authorized sanctions on individuals responsible for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine. The sanction put travel bans on certain people and continued to impose an economic cost to Russia.
If the Trump Administration wants to lift sanctions on Russia in relation to Crimea, it would result in an outcry from members of both parties who largely agree that Putin will invade one of Eastern Europe’s NATO members. It is against U.S interest for Russia to be awarded a Trump-card on invading its neighbors.
The same applies to sanctions in the result of the Cyber attack. According to Professor Kimberly Marten of Barnard College, GOP leaders such as Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham and John McCain support such sanctions.
It is true that Trump has the power to lift sanctions on Russia, however, it will result in a conflict between the executive and the legislative and cause Donald Trump to lose favor within his own party. Republicans and Democrats both agree that the sanctions are necessary, and in fact, sanctions on Russia has been passed by Congress by large margins before. It should be noted however that Congress has the power to craft legislation intended to apply some or all of the sanctions on Russia lost through Executive Orders. This would only slow down the American political system.