The cloak-and-dagger memo release seems to be effectively buried under hurricane news, but at least Bowder took notice and tweeted.
Why does this matter? Going theory is part of the Russian-Trump collusion quid-pro-quo endgame was to get specific oligarch’s names off the Magnitsky Sanctions list. It appears Trump has put control over ONLY THIS ONE SPECIFIC SANCTION in the hands of people who will do just that.
In my estimation, the reason Trump started asking about “pardoning power” the same day news broke that Mueller would be looking at his finances is probably because Russians had been laundering illicit funds (ie the stolen tax dollars mentioned in Bill Browder’s testimony) into Trump real state, going back who knows how long. This is probably why the God-Emperor refuses to let the public see his tax returns.
It seems simple enough: Russians have been sinking laundered money into Trump properties, which the oligarchs cannot fully access until their names are removed from the Magnitsky list.
I’m not finding any memos regarding similar actions taken for other sanctions, so the optics on this are pretty damning.
Now the question for your much smarter folk than me–how does this fit w the last sanctions package that limited Trump’s ability to administer changes to Russian sanctions without Congressional approval? Didn’t he just do that through a simple memo?
He did not just alter the law with respect to limits of Presidential power with respect to sanctions. He delegated Presidential authority to SECSTATE. That doesn’t change the sanctions themselves or somehow increase that authority in ways otherwise constrained.
The timing and method of release (4:30pm on the Friday before a major hurricane) could indicate either–maybe he buried it to avoid us paying attention, or maybe he buried it if it’s a non-story to hide it from Putin and invoking more wrath.
Browder is claimed to say it might be normal procedures, but I can’t find him saying that at all. I can find a link to a wa-po writer who dropped it like a bombshell then tweets it’s standard practice. (so why drop it like it’s a big deal?)
It’s my understanding it’s close to but different than standard operating procedure.
My best guess right now is if it’s “something at all,” it must mean Tilly and Mnuchin can’t undo the sanctions on behalf of Trump, but they do get to decide how much they enforce them.
So while it’s true Trump can’t circumvent the congressional action to oversee changes, they can elect not to enforce the sanction to so-and-so who appears on the Magnitsky list. If true, this would be side-stepping checks and balances, which I think is what most of us are wary of on this matter.
I’m sure Browder is keeping careful watch on Magnitsky. It may be worth noted that Obama was against Magnitsky, he felt it interfered with his Russian reset. But the bill, thanks to Browders hard work, had large bipartisan support.
I’m not going to get too worked up about Mnuchin / Len Blavatnik, as while Blavatnik is Russian, he emigrated to The US in the '70’s and is a US citizen. I’m pretty sure he’s not sanctioned. Blavatnik has been part of the NY rich guy crowd for awhile, I think I did some work for him 8-10 years ago.
I feel strongly about Magnitsky ( in favor of), I’ve read Browders book and it’s a frightening glimpse of how modern Russia works. But I’d be more concerned if there was a connection that pointed to a specific individual that was sanctioned by Magnitsky.
And frankly, I don’t understand the belief that the Trump tax returns are some sort of smoking gun. I mean , they haven’t been made public but the IRS has seen them. And I’m sure they’ve plowed through them with a fine toothed comb, because Trump has a reputation. And they aren’t bank records or financial statements and tax returns typically don’t include detailed information on specific transactions.
When you start hearing about how the new and improved Arctic oil deal between Putin and Exxon will be all about American jobs,…sit down firmly, strap yourself in, and, whatever you do, do not bend over.
What’s Trump’s motivation? That depends on what Russia’s motivation was with the election hack attempts, the frenzied volley of fake news generated from Russian sources, and their “government’s support of candidate Donald Trump.”
As stated before, the Magnitsky Act sticks in their craw because it freezes their assets within the US, which is where they were pumping money for decades.
If Trump is part of willful collusion, it is understood a portion of the quid pro quo would be to ease on sanctions, especially the Magnitsky Act.
Don’t forget: we literally have proof that DTJR willfully attempted to collude with Russia for dirt on HRC from the biggest anti-Magnitsky lobbyists, one of whom was indicted on for gasp laundering money through NY real estate. Oh and also, Sessions settled that case unilaterally the Friday before the Monday the trial was set to start, for a paltry few million and no admission of guilt.
If you’re paying attention at all, it’s not hard to see how all this stuff is possibly connected, and given everything that has happened up to this point and based on just what we know for sure in the public available information, Trump fiddling with any aspect of the Magnitsky act should raise some red flags.
But is should be simple enough to prove innocuous: there should be other similar memos citing the exact same laws and statutes in regard to different sanctions.
I posted this before, it’s a bit over my head, but there seems to be an agreement it’s not SOP.
How does the delegation announced on Friday make it easier for the administration not to enforce sanctions? Wouldn’t it be easier for Trump not to enforce the sanctions if he didn’t delegate enforcement authority to other people?
That Twitter thread seems inconclusive to me; the only difference I can see is the degree of specificity.
So then, remain naive/unconvinced. I can’t help you.
Trump has to enforce sanctions by law due to Congress passing a bill blocking him. He cannot elect to simply not enforce them. He is bound by Congress. So what might be a loop-hole? If you don’t see how delegating control over enforcement to someone in Trump’s pocket might indicate maneuvering to side step checks and balances, then I guess let’s wave goodbye.
If you are going to play the “let’s all be naive and trust that he said ‘enforce’ so clearly that’s his intent” shtick, then I have a wall to sell you and you don’t even have to pay for it