Last Friday, Russia expanded its list of sanctioned Americans in the latest retaliation against sanctions imposed by the United States. But according to the New York Times, the latest names indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin may be targeting supposed “enemies” of Donald Trump.
Included among the 500 Americans singled out for financial and travel restrictions by the Kremlin were several that Trump considers his adversaries, including New York State Attorney General Letitia James, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Special Counsel Jack Smith. Even Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Hill police officer who shot and killed January 6 rioter Ashli Babbit, made the sanctions list.
Since not one of these people has anything to do with the United States Russia policy, the New York Times concluded that the only possible reason they came to the Kremlin’s attention is that Trump has been attacking them in recent weeks.
While the Russian Foreign Ministry did not offer specific explanations for why each of these people would be hit with sanctions, it did say that the list includes “those in government and law enforcement agencies” that were “directly involved in the persecution of dissidents” after the January 6 riot.
Since it is highly unlikely that any of the individuals have assets in Russia or plans to travel there, the sanctions against them will have little effect.
Secretary of State Raffensperger retweeted a tweet from his chief operating officer Gabriel Sterling who described the sanctions against his boss as a “great honor.” “That means Brad is doing it right,” Sterling added.
Unsurprisingly, the sanctions against the people Trump attacks were viewed by RussiaGate hoaxers as more proof that Vladimir Putin is in cahoots with Trump.
In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Joy Reid, former CIA director John Brennan said sanctioning Trump’s enemies was Putin’s way of sending a “signal” to Trump’s base.