Former Donald Trump surrogate Jack Kingston suggested the President-elect may look at lifting sanctions on Russia while speaking Monday to American businesspeople in Moscow about what they might expect from the incoming administration, NPR reported.
“Trump can look at sanctions. They’ve been in place long enough,” Kingston told NPR. “Has the desired result been reached? He doesn’t have to abide by the Obama foreign policy. That gives him a fresh start.”
A description of the event on the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia’s website says “Mr. Kingston briefed the group on doing business with the U.S. under the new U.S. Presidential Administration, touching on the challenges and opportunities that may lie ahead.”
The website also advertises that Kingston, a former Republican congressman from Georgia, served as a senior adviser on Trump’s presidential campaign.
“In this capacity he participated in the campaign’s daily briefings and also as an outside surrogate, appearing on TV over 130 times on behalf of the campaign,” the description continues. “His relationship with team members is extensive.”
Kingston’s view of sanctions may be more accommodating than that of several Republican senators concerned about Russian aggression in Ukraine and the role U.S. intelligence officials say the country played in hacking email accounts belonging to Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee and others.
NPR reported that Kingston said now was the time for businesspeople to play a role in “soft diplomacy” in Russia. That may include himself: Kingston, who has no official role with the Trump transition team, is employed by lobbying giant Squire Patton Boggs. In October, the Washington Post reported that Kingston had been hired to lobby for the High Negotiations Committee of the Syrian Opposition, an umbrella organization representing various groups opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a close ally of Russia.