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White House Decides Not To Impose New Sanctions On Russia


So the Trump administration has told Congress it does not need to impose new Russia-related sanctions, at least, not right now. The administration says a law passed last year that was meant to punish Moscow for meddling in U.S. elections is having an effect. Here's more from NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: The deadline was Monday for the Trump administration to impose sanctions on anyone doing significant business with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors already blacklisted by the U.S. The State Department says it believes that the threat of additional sanctions - that is, the law itself - has disrupted several billion dollars in Russian defense deals. So officials say the law is already having a deterrent effect, and they see no need to impose sanctions.

The Trump administration had other reports due Monday under CAATSA, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. That includes the so-called oligarchs list, the names of wealthy and influential Russians who are close to President Vladimir Putin. But some experts were unimpressed by the unclassified version, which gives few details other than the names and titles of Putin's advisers.

Still, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin, says he appreciates the administration's closed-door briefing on all of this. He's vowing to keep close watch to ensure that the Trump administration follows the law that he helped to draft. Eliot Engel, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, blasted the Trump administration for not imposing new sanctions and, in his words, letting Russia off the hook yet again. Michele Kelemen, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.