Trump Treasury Department refuses to lift sanctions allowing Exxon to drill in Russia
Pres. Donald Trump interviewed by Tucker Carlson (Screen capture)

CNN political reporter Carol Costello said on Friday afternoon that President Donald Trump has denied energy giant Exxon permission to drill for oil in the Russian arctic.

"#URGENT," said Costello on Twitter. "Trump denies Exxon permission to drill for oil in Russia."

The move is an unexpected one given Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's former chairmanship of Exxon and his recently friendly meetings with officials in the Russian government.

Currently, United Nations sanctions sponsored in part by the U.S. prohibit U.S. companies from doing business with Russia as a result of Russia's incursions into Crimea, which is recognized as belonging to Ukraine, not Russia.

However, the reported that Trump administration Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has said that U.S. companies should obey the sanction orders until they are lifted.

"In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions," Mnuchin said.