Trump, Russia and Sanctions

January 30, 2017

In their first call following President Trump’s inauguration, Presidents Trump and Putin reportedly spoke on Saturday, January 28, about the prospects for improving the U.S.-Russia relationship. Prior to the call, amid rumors that sanctions against Russia would be eased and statements by some congressional leaders that they would work to pass legislation to codify sanctions to prevent the president from terminating sanctions against Russia, Trump stated that it is “very early” to start discussions about lifting sanctions. Nonetheless, this call may be considered the first step in the possible rolling back of sanctions against Russia by Trump despite recently-introduced congressional legislation to prevent such action.

The most recent sanctions against Russia, which were announced at the end of December by President Obama pursuant to Executive Order 13757, listed, among others, the Federal Security Service (“FSB”) as a Specially Designated National (“SDN”), effectively banning any U.S. person from interaction with the FSB. The inclusion of the FSB on the SDN list has created obstacles for U.S. persons doing business in Russia.

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