Trump on New Russia Sanctions: Not So Fast

White House walks back Nikki Haley's comments
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2018 4:44 PM CDT
Trump on New Russia Sanctions: Not So Fast
President Donald Trump, joined by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, right, speaks during a lunch with the United Nations Security Council in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A day after Nikki Haley announced that the US would be hitting Russia with new sanctions due to the suspected Syria chemical attack, President Trump is walking back her comments. Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said on Face the Nation that any Russian companies linked to equipment used in the attack would face new economic sanctions to be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. Instead, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Monday that additional sanctions against Russia were being considered and "a decision will be made in the near future." Sources tell the Washington Post that Sunday night, Trump told his national security advisers he wasn't comfortable officially rolling out the sanctions yet and was upset an announcement had been made.

One official says Haley made "an error that needs to be mopped up"—"We would not have rolled out sanctions through somebody saying them on a Sunday show," one official tells Politico—but other officials say she's not the type to make a mistake like that and regularly goes over her talking points with Trump before doing interviews. She has not issued a statement clarifying her remarks, and when asked about the discrepancy between her interview and the official White House statement, a White House official said there was internal confusion about the plan. The Kremlin had denounced Haley's remarks, and after she made them, the Trump administration told the Russian Embassy in DC that no sanctions were actually forthcoming, per a Russian Foreign Ministry official. Administration officials tell the Post the sanctions, which were developed recently as part of a ready set of measures to be used if needed, are being seriously considered but Trump has yet to officially authorize them, and he likely will not unless there's another "triggering event" from Russia. (Read more Russia stories.)

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