Trump tricked senators. What does this mean for Russia

© 2018 AFP / Mandel Ngan US President Donald trump in the oval office of the White house in Washington. 27 Aug 2018Trump tricked senators. What does this mean for Russia© AFP 2018 / Mandel Ngan

Donald trump made a surprise for the Congress, unexpectedly signed a decree on sanctions against foreign individuals and companies suspected of attempts to interfere in the American elections. Why is it in the hands of Russia — in the material RIA Novosti.

In order interference in the elections means the cyber attacks on «electoral infrastructure» — the voting machine and ballot processing and the organization of a propaganda campaign to change public opinion and «systematic leak of private political information.»

Tracking attempts to interfere will be engaged in several intelligence agencies and Federal agencies, including the CIA, the national security Agency and the Department of homeland security. On the basis of the provided information, the final decision on sanctions is taken by the Director of the National intelligence service.

As soon as suspicious actions on the part of foreign countries identified, the intelligence community has 45 days to prove the fact of interference. If everything is confirmed, the intelligence community inform the attorney General and the Department of homeland security and the agencies for 45 days to respond.

The decree also envisages the possibility of declaring a state of emergency, giving residentsto the right of supervision of Internet resources, «to determine the purpose and source of any alleged interference.»

Advisor to the President for national security John Bolton promised «long list of potential sanctions,» which will introduce «depending on the degree of interference in elections.»

In particular, we are talking about the restrictions on the ability to borrow from the us banks, the freezing of assets of individuals and legal entities, as well as banning us investment in companies involved in the intervention.

While Bolton did not mention sanctions against the state structures and assets of suspects meddling in American elections.

Feel the difference

Contrary to the Washington tradition, the decree on sanctions was prepared in secret from the Congress. Members of the relevant committees of the house of representatives and the Senate who are usually involved in the discussion of sanctions initiatives are not familiarized with the text of the document. According to the American media, several influential lawmakers directly appealed to the White house with a request to provide the draft of the decree, but was refused.

Now senators are considering and continue to discuss two hard bill to prevent interference in elections. The new presidential decree with him there is one common point: the sanctions are imposed automatically if the Director of the National intelligence service the United States will come to the conclusion that foreign intervention in the campaign really happened.

The fundamental difference is that the Senate bills aimed exclusively against Russia, and in the decree of trump we are talking about any country to interfere in the American elections. Unlike parliamentarians, the White house sees other threats.

In mid-August, John Bolton declared that Russia — the only one of the four countries about which there are concerns in the upcoming elections.

«I can definitely say that there is sufficient concern in the context of national security in relation to the intervention of China, Iran and North Korea. In fact, all four — together with Russia — the country of concern in the context of elections in 2018», — said the adviser of the US President on national security.

Later, trump announced that the mail server Hillary Clinton during the presidential campaign of 2016 is not hacked Russian hackers, as stated earlier, and the Chinese.

«Letter to Hillary Clinton, a secret information was hacked by China,» he wrote on Twitter.

The White house demanded that the FBI and DOJ to investigate the incident, threatening that otherwise they would «lose their credibility forever.»

Russia, China, North Korea and Iran — the countries are too different in terms of economic development and role in foreign trade and U.S. policy. Therefore, a universal set of sanctions is equally painful for all of the four to be simply impossible.

So the President will decide who to hit, where it hurts, and against whom to establish a purely formal constraints. This is good news for Moscow as the White house does not support the too rigid action against it.

In particular, the U.S. Treasury Department has repeatedly said that sanctions against Russian sovereign debt and banks can have a negative impact on the global financial markets.

In addition, trump, unlike senators, is considering sanctions not as a weapon of retribution, but as a subject for bargaining. Prime example: just three weeks after the introduction of restrictions in relation to RUSAL, the U.S. Treasury eased the position by giving banks and companies more time to minimize the deals with the Russian aluminum holding.

Later, the Minister of Finance Steven Mnuchin said about the possibility of lifting these sanctions under certain conditions.

In General, analyzing the statements of the trump, we can conclude that the main enemies of America, he thinks China and Iran, not Russia.

Trump vs Congress

Acting in full accordance with the well-known wisdom «if you can’t win — head» trump not only intercepted the MPs initiative in the sensitive issue of sanctions, but also significantly changed the balance of power on Capitol hill.

Still a key role in the sanctions policy of the States belonged to the Congress. In particular, in August of 2017, the deputies adopted the law «On counteraction to opponents of the United States» banned the President to repeal existing sanctions without the approval of Parliament. In essence, then, the Congress has secured the right of veto on the sanctions issues, depriving it of the White house.

Now trump has dramatically improved yourself room to maneuver, since the President at any time has the right to cancel your order without asking Congress. So, by imposing sanctions, he can cancel them when he sees fit.

The sponsors of the bills on anti-Russian sanctions — senators Marco Rubio and Chris van HOLLEN — have already expressed their dissatisfaction with the initiative of the White house.

In a joint statement, they noted that the administration trump’s «finally» acknowledged the existence of a threat, but «has not done enough to prevent it».

The Congress also confirmed that the White house released the order will not prevent the legislators to take action to protect the upcoming elections.

However, when trump has formulated its position on sanctions, the approval of the most radical of senators proposed measures (a ban on all operations with Russian debt, the flights of «Aeroflot» in the USA, the removal of Russian banks from the global dollar payments system) is unlikely.

High, which now should be wary of Russia — a ban on American banks buying new issues of domestic government bonds and another personal sanctions against Russian officials and oligarchs.

After yesterday morning, appeared in the media first reports about the new sanctions the decree trump, the us dollar at auction Moscow stock exchange fell by 1.7 ruble (up to 68,61 rubles per dollar as of 11:00), European — two rubles (to 79,75 rubles per Euro).

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