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Kudlow says Haley ‘got ahead of the curve’ on sanctions

Jill Colvin and Zeke Miller
Associated Press

Palm Beach, Fla. – President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser said Tuesday that U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley “got ahead of the curve” when she said new sanctions against Russia were imminent.

National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters Tuesday during a briefing in Florida that there “might have been some momentary confusion” about the issue.

Haley said during an appearance on “Face the Nation” on Sunday that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin would be announcing new sanctions directed at companies associated with Syria’s chemical weapons program. She said Mnuchin would be announcing them Monday, “if he hasn’t already.”

But Monday came and went without an announcement. Kudlow says additional sanctions are under consideration but have not been implemented yet.

The White House has been struggling to explain Haley’s comments, amid reports that Trump put the brakes on the new sanctions. Several administration officials are disputing that characterization, saying Haley was out of the loop.

A senior administration official said under the plan conceived last week the sanctions would have been announced Friday night, at the same time U.S., French, and British forces launched a missile strike on Syrian President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons facilities. But the sanctions were not ready in time for Trump’s 9 p.m. Friday statement.

The official said the sanctions were reevaluated over the weekend as the administration watched the Russian government’s response to the strikes, and they were put on hold once Russia’s response was deemed less robust than anticipated. The official was not authorized to discuss private administration deliberations publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.