Russia’s Latest Sanctions on U.S. Officials Turn to Trump Enemies
Russia has expanded its list of sanctioned Americans in a tit-for-tat retaliation for the latest curbs imposed by the United States. But what is particularly striking is how much President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is adopting perceived enemies of former President Donald J. Trump 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 state attorney general of New York who has investigated and sued him. Brad Raffensperger, the secretary of state of Georgia who rebuffed Mr. Trump’s pressure to reverse the outcome of the 2020 election, also made the list. And Lt. Michael Byrd, the Capitol Police officer who shot the pro-Trump rioter Ashli Babbitt on Jan. 6, 2021, was another notable name.
None of those three has anything to do with Russia policy and the only reason they would have come to Moscow’s attention is because Mr. Trump has publicly assailed them. The Russian Foreign Ministry offered no specific explanation for why they would be included on the list but did say that among its targets were “those in government and law enforcement agencies who are directly involved in the persecution of dissidents in the wake of the so-called storming of the Capitol.”
As recently as this month, Mr. Trump has tried to rewrite the history of that day and has dangled pardons for convicted rioters if he is elected to a second term. He also refused to commit to supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia if he is elected president again, saying instead he would seek to mediate between Kyiv and Moscow.
Presumably, the Russian sanctions will have little actual effect on Ms. James, Mr. Raffensperger and Lieutenant Byrd since none of them is known to have assets in Russia or plans to travel there. Mr. Raffensperger reposted a tweet from Gabriel Sterling, his chief operating officer, who wrote: “A great honor for @GaSecofState Raffensperger. He is one of the hundreds of Americans banned from Russia by Vladimir Putin. That means Brad is doing it right.”
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