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DO NOT come into Nancy's House with that trifling shit, munchkin. Madame Speaker did not come here to play, so don't bring your sorry-ass excuse for a book report into Congress and expect to get credit for it.

Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin whatevered his way through a classified congressional briefing on his decision to un-sanction Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska's aluminum and energy companies. Big mistake!

PELOSI: I usually don't comment on something in a classified briefing. But quite frankly, they spent most of the time reading an unclassified document. This -- with stiff competition, mind you -- was one of the worst classified briefings we've received from the Trump administration. The secretary barely testified, answered some questions, but he didn't give testimony. They had an intelligence briefing which I won't go into. And then they read a document which was unclassified, wasting the time of the members of Congress.

On December 19, approximately twelve seconds before Congress left for the holidays, Mnuchin announced his intention to drop sanctions on Deripaska's En+ Group, which has a controlling interest in aluminum behemoth RUSAL, and also owns Russian power company EuroSibEnergo. This started he 30-day clock for Congress to review the decision and block it if it disagrees. In Mnuchin's telling, it's totally cool, bro, since Paul Manafort's BFF Oleg Deripaska has to divest from those companies as part of the deal, bringing his ownership stake below 50 percent, and he'll still be personally sanctioned, after all. Sure, Manafort tried to leverage his position as Trump's campaign chair to "get whole" with Deripaska, who was desperate to avoid being boxed out of western financial markets by US sanctions, but this decision had absolutely nothing to do with politics or Trump's eccentric proclivity to govern America in the way that is most advantageous for Russian kleptocrats.


Politico reports:

"This is not politically motivated," Mnuchin said. "These companies weren't picked upon because they did bad things; these companies were picked up because of their ownership and their control and we're trying to segregate it."

Glad we're not picking on those poor, helpless aluminum behemoths swept up in a dragnet by over-zealous Treasury cops.

As our Evan Hurst pointed out three weeks ago, this "transfer" reeks to high heaven. Some of Deripaska's shares are being bought by sanctioned Kremlin bank VTB, the very same institution that would have financed Trump Tower Moscow if Trump could only somehow get elected and ditch the Obama sanctions regime. Other shares will go to Glencore, a Swiss mining giant that has a major money laundering problem (ALLEGEDLY), and which partnered with Qatar to buy a huge stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft, then mysteriously sold a chunk of it back to the Russians a short time later. (This was mentioned in THE DOSSIER!) Is Glencore or the Qatari investment authority the mystery company in Mueller's secret grand jury dispute? MAYBE! It can certainly afford the $50,000 per day in contempt fines since it told the Special Counsel to piss right off.

But back to Mnuchin, who professed himself "shocked" that he dedicated a whole NINETY MINUTES of his precious time to Congress, and yet those beggars remain unsatisfied. Don't they know the Trump administration just wants to protect the fragile aluminum market? That's why Trump imposed a 10 percent tariff on imported steel, to protect the market, see?

UH HUH. And speaking of chutzpah, check out this idiot bragging about how tough Trumpworld is on Russia. The New York Times reports:

"One of the goals of sanctions is to change behavior, and the proposed delistings of companies that Deripaska will no longer control show that sanctions can result in positive change," Mr. Mnuchin said in the statement.

Mr. Mnuchin also pushed back against suggestions from critics that the administration had been soft on Russia. He noted that the administration had imposed sanctions on 272 "Russian related" individuals and entities.

OH. NO. HE. DIDN'T.

The Trump administration had to be dragged kicking and screaming into pissing off Putin. The sanctions bill passed 98-2 in the Senate (Paul and Sanders, go figure!) and 419-3 in the House, to make sure that Trump couldn't even think about trying to veto it. That's right, even Republicans were willing to tell the president NO for once. After all that, it still took Mnuchin almost a year to designate which entities to punish. And now he wants to take credit for being hard on Russia?

media2.giphy.com

We may not know all the details of the Trump-Russia crime spree. But we do know that it has ALWAYS been about sanctions. Michael Flynn lied to the FBI about his promise to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to lift sanctions. Trump was trying to get financing from a sanctioned Russian bank to build his garbage tower in Moscow during the campaign. The Russians preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton because they thought he was more likely to lift sanctions on their thieving oligarchs. (Also, Putin just haaaaaaates her.) Jared Kushner lied on his clearance form about meeting with sanctioned Russian Vnesheconombank during the campaign, for reasons having nothing at all to do with his family's desperate need for a cash bailout. And recently indicted Kremlin lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and the rest of the Russian goon squad met with Don, Jr., Manafort and Kushner at Trump Tower offering sexxxxy Hillary dirts in exchange for sanctions relief.

Hell, just this morning we told you about Robert Mueller investigating a whole buttload of pro-Russia Ukrainians loitering around the Trump inaugural offering Ukraine "peace plans" to anybody who wanted one. And what are those "peace plans" all about? Lifting Russian sanctions.

And still, Secretary Mnuchin comes before Congress and says he's just un-sanctioning a Russian oligarch who seems to be smack in the middle of all the election ratfucking, and they should just take his word for it that it's totally fine?

DUDE, SIT YOUR SKINNY ASS DOWN. That shit may fly with Mitch McConnell, but Madame Speaker Pelosi is not having your pathetic crap. Now go home and think about what you've done, Steven!

[Politico / NYT]

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