Trump staffers wrote plan to punish Russia for Navalny poisoning — but he never did it: report
US president Donald Trump and Russian president Vladimir Putin met for face-to-face talks in Osaka on Friday. (AFP)

On Monday, POLITICO reported that in the final days of former President Donald Trump's administration, White House aides crafted a "comprehensive sanctions package" to punish Russia for the assassination attempt against opposition leader Alexei Navalny — but the outgoing president never implemented it, leaving the matter to President Joe Biden to solve.

Navalny was reportedly poisoned with a dose of the lethal nerve agent novichok implanted in his boxer shorts by a Russian FSB officer in his hotel room in the city of Tomsk. He only survived because the airplane carrying him made an emergency landing when his symptoms began. He recovered in Germany and returned home only to be arrested and sentenced to three years in prison.

"The package proposed three types of sanctions: Magnitsky Act sanctions on the individuals who detained Navalny; sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act); and sanctions under Executive Order 13382 — which is 'aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters,' according to the State Department," reported Natasha Bertrand. "The Trump sanctions package also proposed revoking certain Russian officials' visas and restricting the export of certain dual-use items to Russia that could be used to manufacture weapons of mass destruction."

"It is not clear why the sanctions proposal, which former officials said was ready to go by early January, stalled at the end of Trump's term," said the report. "But the former president was notoriously reluctant to penalize the Kremlin or confront Vladimir Putin directly, and the sanctions package would have required his approval."

According to the report, Biden is now set to implement his own plan.

"However the new administration chooses to respond, it is unlikely to use the exact blueprint left by Trump's national security team," said the report. "The current National Security Council views that package as overly unilateral and not in line with Biden's commitment to working more closely with U.S. partners on major foreign policy moves, two officials said."