Russia’s Latest Sanctions Against US Officials Turn To Trump’s Enemies
Russia has expanded its list of sanctioned Americans in tit for tat retaliation for the latest U.S. restrictions. But what is particularly striking is the extent to which Russian President Vladimir V. Putin embraces former President Donald J. Trump’s perceived enemies as his own.
Among the 500 people singled out for travel and financial restrictions on Friday were Americans seen as adversaries by Mr Trump, including Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General who investigated and prosecuted him in justice. Brad Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state who pushed back on Mr Trump’s push to reverse the 2020 election result, was also on the list. And Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol police officer who shot the pro-Trump Ashli Babbitt riot on Jan. 6, 2021, was another notable name.
None of these three have anything to do with Russian politics and the only reason they would have caught Moscow’s attention is if Mr. Trump publicly attacked them. The Russian Foreign Ministry offered no specific explanation as to why they would be included in the list, but said that among its targets were “those in government and law enforcement who are directly involved. in the persecution of dissenters following the so-called capture of the Capitol.
Just this month, Mr Trump attempted to rewrite history on that day and held out the prospect of pardon for convicted rioters if elected to a second term. He also refused to pledge to support Ukraine in its war against Russia if elected president again, saying he would instead seek to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow.
Presumably, Russian sanctions will have little real effect on Ms. James, Mr. Raffensperger and Lt. Byrd since none of them are known to have assets in Russia or plan to travel there. Mr Raffensperger reposted a tweet from Gabriel Sterling, its managing director, who wrote: “Big honor for @GaSecofState Raffensperger. He is one of hundreds of Americans banned from Russia by Vladimir Putin. That means Brad is doing it right.