Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to President Donald Trump, announced on Jan. 27 that the administration was considering lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia.
”If another nation that has considerable resources wishes to join together with the United States of America to try to defeat and eradicate radical Islamic terrorism, then we’re listening,” said Conway. ”It’s very important to at least have these conversations.”
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Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Rob Portman of Ohio quickly objected to the proposal, saying that lifting economic sanctions against Russia could have disastrous effects on a global scale.
”For the sake of America’s national security and that of our allies, I hope President Trump will put an end to this speculation,” said McCain, according to Politico. ”If he does not, I will work with my colleagues to codify sanctions against Russia into law.”
Portman further stressed the far-reaching detrimental effects of Trump’s proposed loosening of sanctions.
”To lift the sanctions on Russia for any reason other than a change in the behavior that led to those sanctions in the first place would send a dangerous message to a world already questioning the value of American leadership and the credibility of our commitments after eight years of Obama administration policies,” explained Portman.
Other Republican leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, joined McCain and Portman in trying to persuade Trump to leave existing sanctions in place.
Former President Barack Obama established sanctions against Russia on two occasions, once in 2014 when Russia annexed the Crimea region of Ukraine, and a second time after Russia was implicated in the hacking of the 2016 U.S. presidential election, according to Business Insider.
‘If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” asked Trump.
Trump previously offered an ultimatum to Russia to reduce its nuclear arsenal in exchange for the U.S. lifting economic sanctions, though Moscow claims the size of Russia’s nuclear arsenal was never up for negotiation.
Sources: Politico, Business Insider / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr