Blowhard Bankrupt Tubby Cheeto Is Putin's Best Friend
2019-10-05 16:41:53 UTC
Russian state TV literally laughs about GOPs vote to lift sanctions
By Caroline Orr - January 18, 2019
Republicans gave Russia exactly what it wanted and Russia's having a good
chuckle about it.
The GOP-controlled Senate rejected legislation this week that would have
required the U.S. Treasury Department to keep sanctions on companies linked
to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch with close ties to Vladimir Putin.
The move is a major win for Putin, whose economy has been hit hard by U.S.-
backed sanctions aimed at punishing Russia for its aggression in Ukraine,
its involvement in human rights abuses around the world, and its malicious
cyber activities including the 2016 influence operation targeting the U.S.
While Democrats had mounted an effort to block Trumps Treasury Department
from lifting sanctions on the Russian companies, Republicans used their
majority in the Senate to hand Putin a victory by easing the sanctions.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Democratic effort to keep
sanctions in place a stunt. Only 11 Republicans were willing to vote
against McConnell and Trumps demands to ease up on Russia.
Not surprisingly, the vote came as welcome news in Russia, where state-run
media seized on the development and celebrated the fact that Republicans
had enough votes to stop the Democratic effort to keep sanctions in place.
As investigative journalist and Russian media analyst Julia Davis first
reported on Twitter, the hosts of the popular Russian state TV program 60
Minutes used Thursdays episode to highlight the move by Republicans,
touting it as the first time since 2014 that the U.S. has lifted sanctions
The shows hosts, Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov, laugh[ed] out loud about
the Democrats not getting enough votes to block the effort, Davis
reported. The pair then expresse[d] hope that this is just the beginning
of sanctions relief now that the midterms are over and Republicans have
maintained their majority in the Senate.
As Davis has noted previously, Russia experts believe the desire for
sanctions removal was a key reason why the Kremlin rooted for Republicans
to maintain their congressional majorities in the midterm elections last
Russian state media reported before the November election that recent
economic sanctions proposed by Trump were likely just for show a ploy to
make him look tough on Russia and that he would likely soften his
position after the election.
Russian officials even devised a plan to indirectly influence U.S.
sanctions policy by fostering a closer alliance between the two countries,
focusing on joint economic and business ventures. The Kremlin reportedly
believed that a stronger American economy, or at least the image of one,
would allow Trump to go easy on sanctions without political consequences.
Part of that plan, according to multiple Russia analysts, involved touting
Trumps supposed economic achievements and cultivating relationships with
elected Republicans many of whom traveled to Moscow last summer and fall.
Russians dont see Republicans as a viable threat, Davis reported, and
they believe theyll capitulate to Trump on foreign policy matters like
sanctions. The Kremlin thinks it is particularly promising to promote
Trumps nationalist base as part of an effort to pressure elected
Republicans into agreeing to policies that are compatible with Russias
national interests and goals.
Clearly, the Kremlin was correct in its assessment.
Despite Trumps frequent claims of being tough on Russia, his
administration has repeatedly slow-walked sanctions and attempted to remove
existing sanctions. And while Republicans have previously forced Trumps
hand on sanctions, this week was among the first times they gave the green
light to Trump to lift sanctions that were initially imposed in response to
Russias election interference.
Sanctions relief has been one of the Kremlins top priorities for years.
With this weeks vote, Trump and his GOP allies handed Russia a major win
without asking the Kremlin for anything in return publicly, at least.
Published with permission of The American Independent.