How Mueller Is Strong-arming Russia's Oligarchs to Get to Trump

Casey Dawson
April 6, 2018

Plans call for targeting six to 10 so-called Russian oligarchs, though no firm decision has been made on the number, the official said.

Foreign donations to US presidential campaigns are illegal, but Mueller is trying to find out if the oligarchs sought to evade the law.

Officials spoke about the sanctions on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss pending actions.

"The administration is committed to implementing the CAATSA law as we have said many times", a senior USA official told the outlet. The U.S. Treasury Department recently released a list of individuals who may face countermeasures. The targets for the sanctions will be taken from a classified annex to the report, the official said.

The Mueller investigation in February indicted 13 Russian nationals over alleged interference in the 2016 election, and the Trump administration announced sanctions in March against Russia, including people named in Mueller's indictments. Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and by showing interest in Russian oligarchs, it reveals his team is focusing on the possible flow of foreign money to President Trump's campaign and inauguration fund, CNN reports.

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While the steps were the most significant taken against Moscow since Trump took office in January 2017, his decision at the time not to target oligarchs and government officials close to Putin drew criticism from U.S. lawmakers in both parties.

The officials said the sanctions will likely come later this week.

The United States is expected to impose additional sanctions against Russian Federation on April 6, according to USA officials, The Washington Post reported.

Trump's outgoing national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, publicly called for a tougher line against Russian Federation in speech Tuesday, saying in the face of Putin's increasing aggression around the world, "We have failed to impose sufficient costs". "The time when there were oligarchs in Russian Federation passed long ago, there are no oligarchs in Russian Federation".

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