Last year, Congress passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by an overwhelming majority in both chambers of government. That package of sanctions on Russia was in retaliation for their meddling in the 2016 election.
But last Monday, the Trump administration said they would not be implementing those sanctions, with the State Department issuing a statement saying the threat of new sanctions had been enough:
“Sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent.”
During a hearing on Tuesday, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) had a message for Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin: You are directly disobeying the will of Congress. Waters asked Mnuchin:
“Who is responsible for delegating what was passed by an overwhelming majority of this House to the State Department?”
That’s when Waters lit into the Treasury Secretary:
“So the president decided that despite the fact that in the law that we passed, it delegated responsibility to Treasury, that he decided that he wanted it to be delegated to the State Department rather than Treasury. And this is your excuse for not having implemented the law, is that correct?”
A clearly flustered Mnuchin replied:
“No, it’s not my excuse. The president had the authority to delegate within that as he chose fit.”
“But the final conclusion is that nothing has been done! There has been no waiver, there has been no delay, there has not been anything that has been done. You did not waive or delay sanctions. That is the conclusion.”
When Mnuchin claimed that an “enormous amount of work” had been done by Treasury on the issue of Russia sanctions, Waters countered by asking what exactly had been done. Mnuchin asserted that the details were classified.
That led Waters to comment:
“Are you telling me that your response to the overwhelming majority of this Congress having created law to impose sanctions on Russia that undermined our democracy, that your response is classified?”
She then added:
“The Congress of the United States does not know what you are doing! The Congress of the United States does not expect that your response to the public policy that was developed by us be somehow responded to in a classified way.”
The administration keeps denying they have any connection to Russia, but their actions suggest otherwise. Something doesn’t add up here.
Rep. Maxine Waters repeatedly presses Treasury Sec. Mnuchin on Russian sanctions passed by Congress last year. "This is your excuse for not having implemented the law?" https://t.co/NkJuIoh4fP pic.twitter.com/V6qXRWS4tT
— ABC News (@ABC) February 6, 2018
Featured Image Via YouTube Screengrab.