After President Donald Trump issued sanctions Friday against a number of Kremlin-linked Russian oligarchs, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the action was in response to the country's electoral meddling. But as an Obama-era National Security Council staffer and current CNN analyst noted, the press secretary's response doesn't add up to the language of the executive order.
"There’s something off here," national security analyst Sam Vinograd tweeted, noting that Sanders claimed the sanctions "are about election meddling" but that research on Executive Orders 13661 and 13662, which were cited in the Friday announcement, show they're related to Ukraine and Syria.
@markknoller Guys there’s something off here. @PressSec says these sanctions today are about election meddling but… https://t.co/b2tv6WqBLc— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd)1523053263.0
The first two orders, which are both from 2014, were issued in accordance with the Obama-era Treasury Department. EOs 13661 and 13662 state that that they are related to "Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Ukraine," and EO 13582, issued in 2011, is focused on "Blocking Property of the Government of Syria and Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Syria."
The March 18 sanctions, Vinograd noted, make specific note of EOs related to "malicious cyber-enabled activities."
@markknoller @PressSec @Google Compare to March 18 sanctions under malicious cyber attacks and election interferenc… https://t.co/4Qc2ULRJzV— Sam Vinograd (@Sam Vinograd)1523053340.0
Though both the March 18 and April 6 orders reference the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, signed by Trump in 2017, the cited authority for the one issued Friday about Russian oligarchs have nothing to do specifically with Russia.