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Mnuchin urges GOP to support easing Russia sanctions

The Associated Press
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin arrives with his Chief of Staff Eli Miller, right, for a classified briefing with a group of bipartisan members of Congress January 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Mnuchin is set to brief members of Congress behind closed doors about the easing of sanctions on companies tied to billionaire Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

Washington – Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (mih-NOO’-shin) is urging Republican senators to support the Trump administration’s decision to ease sanctions on companies linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Mnuchin met privately with senators Tuesday before a vote on a resolution from Democrats. That measure would prevent the administration from lifting penalties against the aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal and two other companies connected to Deripaska.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Mnuchin said, “We have been tougher on Russia with more sanctions than any other administration.” He said the sanctions “shouldn’t be a political issue.”

The Treasury Department says the Russian companies have committed to separating from Deripaska. It also warns the sanctions could upset global aluminum markets.

Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer protested what he called “sanctions relief for President Putin’s trusted agents.”