Trump Allows Business Deals With Russian Spy Agency

But that may not be as nefarious as it seems
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2017 5:26 PM CST

(Newser) – The Trump administration finally did what many feared it would do: rolled back sanctions on Russia. Or did it? USA Today reports the Treasury Department on Thursday granted an exemption that allows US businesses or individuals to do business with Russian spy agency FSB, as long as payments are less than $5,000 per year. You may remember FSB as the Russian spy agency that allegedly hacked Democratic National Committee emails during the election.

But wait, this may not be as nefarious as it seems. An expert on international trade law tells the Fiscal Times that Thursday's exemption is simply fixing an accidental consequence of a sanction enacted on FSB by then-President Obama in December. The exemption will allow US companies to buy a needed license from FSB in order to sell products containing encryption capabilities, such as Microsoft Word or "really any Microsoft product," in Russia. Meanwhile, Nikki Haley told the UN that Russian sanctions would remain in place until Russia pulls out of Crimea, CNN reports. The new US ambassador to the UN asked Russia to stop violence in the Ukraine during an emergency UN meeting on Thursday. (Read more sanctions stories.)

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