Immediately after entering the White House, the Trump administration embarked on a secret, forceful push to lift economic sanctions against Russia, Yahoo News reported Thursday.
Senior Trump officials went toe-to-toe with former Obama administration and State Department staffers scrambling to curtail their efforts and to stall an order to develop a plan that would lift sanctions and restore access to Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and Long Island, according to Yahoo.
“There was serious consideration by the White House to unilaterally rescind the sanctions,” Dan Fried, who was chief U.S. coordinator for sanctions policy until February, told Yahoo.
The Trump administration’s effort ultimately fell short, thwarted in part by a series of damaging news reports about senior officials’ undisclosed conversations with Russian officials.
This campaign to pressure the State Department is one of several efforts by Trump associates to relieve economic pressure on Russia. Ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn spoke to Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. about lifting new sanctions the day the Obama administration announced them in late December. Trump’s personal attorney also reportedly hand-delivered to Flynn’s office a Ukrainian lawmaker’s “peace plan” that called for ending U.S. sanctions against Russia.