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President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Getty Images)
President Donald Trump and Russia's President Vladimir Putin attend a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018. (Getty Images)

Lifting sanctions against Russia adds to skepticism of Trump

The Trump administration's efforts to approve the lifting of sanctions in Congress against Vladimir Putin's allies is just the latest baffling gesture by a…

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Remember that Russian oligarch with whom Paul Manafort shared sensitive information during the presidential elections? Well, now Trump wants to lift sanctions against him.

Last December, the Trump administration announced to Congress its intention to lift sanctions on two large Russian companies, one of which is owned by Oleg Deripaska, a heavyweight oligarch in Moscow, and a close friend of Vladimir Putin.

The relationship between the Trump administration and Russia has been dogged by investigations for alleged collusion and treason, which has put the president in the difficult situation of having to put forth certain hard-line actions toward his Russian friends.

While the administration previously announced the imposing of sanctions against Deripaska as retaliation against Moscow's interference in the 2016 elections, the gesture seems to have been just that: a gesture.

According to CNN, the sanctions should have taken effect immediately, but Deripaska's company, Rusal, "promptly asked the Treasury Department to lift them." The federal government agreed to this without major issue, "extending the deadline several times" to allow Deripaska to have more time to relinquish control of his holdings."

Though the government was forced to punish the Kremlin for what happened in 2016 - especially after Congress passed a decision last summer to do so - the attempt's tenacity is made conspicuous by its absence.

To the point that the Republican Party itself has broken ranks with the government after the announcement that it will simply lift the sanctions.

According to Politico, the House of Representatives voted 362 to 53 against Trump's decision to help the Kremlin - 130 Republicans joined the Democratic opposition against favors that the president intends to make to Putin at home.

There are still some Republicans, especially in the Senate, willing to give the green light to the president and the Treasury Department; however, Democrats insist that information about the agreement between the U.S. and Deripaska must be shared in its entirety in order to "understand" the perspective of the decision.

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