President Donald Trump on Sunday paused his administration’s plans to sanction Russia for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Washington Post reported Monday.
Trump’s move to halt the sanctions, which the Post described as “under serious consideration,” flew in the face of United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley’s comments on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that “Secretary Mnuchin will be announcing those [Russian sanctions] on Monday, if he hasn’t already, and they will go directly to any sort of companies that were dealing with equipment related to Assad and chemical weapons use.”
Not so fast. “We are considering additional sanctions on Russia and a decision will be made in the near future,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the Post Monday.
Unnamed White House officials gave the paper differing accounts of what happened: Haley made “an error that needs to be mopped up,” one said. Another was skeptical that the UN ambassador had “merely misspoken,” in the paper’s words, given how careful she normally is to check in with the President. One official, the Post reported, said that there had been “confusion internally” about the plan.
The bottom line, according to the Post, is that Trump told advisers Sunday night that he was “upset” about the sanctions and “not yet comfortable executing them,” according to several unnamed people familiar with the plan.
“She’ll usually talk to the president without the rest of the White House and get her remarks cleared directly,” an unnamed senior administration official said, referring to Haley. “Often we don’t know about them.”