Trump administration may return USA compounds to Russian Federation

Jun 02, 2017, 02:10
Trump administration may return USA compounds to Russian Federation

The Russian compound in Oyster Bay, Long Island, was vacated in late December.

The Trump administration is reportedly in talks to let Russian Federation resume control of diplomatic compounds in NY and Maryland, putting the White House on a path to potentially reversing Obama-era sanctions imposed against Moscow over its purported involvement in the 2016 US presidential race.

The facilities, long believed to be used for intelligence gathering, were cleaned out on December 29 as then-President Obama slammed Russian Federation with sanctions for its alleged role in trying to influence the 2016 election.

Most U.S. intelligence officials can relay stories of run-ins with Russian intelligence operatives - often moonlighting as lobbyists, diplomats and businessmen - hanging around popular Washington happy hours. US media reported earlier in the day that both the US Congress and Federal Bureau of Investigation were looking into whether Sessions and Kislyak met at Trump's campaign event in April 2016.

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The Washington Post on Wednesday reported that Trump's administration is leaning towards returning a pair of Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and NY.

The Trump administration spoke with Russian officials early last month and said it would consider returning the properties if Moscow lifts sanctions of its own so that the US may construct a new consulate on a particular parcel of land in St. Petersburg, the Post reported. However, shortly after, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that they had "dropped any linkage" between the compounds and the consulate, according to the Post. "That's why they kicked out 35 diplomats who may have been spies". R.C. Hammond, an adviser to Tillerson, told reporters "the USA and Russian Federation have reached no agreements".

A former adviser to Obama told The Post that they had "no intention" of returning the compounds to Russian Federation.

Russian Federation owned the compounds, which had diplomatic immunity, since before the Soviet Union dissolved. "Washington Post is among them", Ryabkov said.

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Another facility, in Centreville, Md., was also emptied as part of the sanctions.

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"They infringed on the diplomatic status of these facilities due to Obama administration's poor ability to cope with emotions", Ryabkov added. The former president also ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from America amid findings by the USA intelligence community that Moscow sough to tilt last year's election in Trump's favor. "They know full well that those two facilities they mentioned, they are vacation facilities for our kids and this is Christmas, and this is vacation time for our schools".

Flynn left his White House job after barely three weeks when it was revealed he misled Vice President Mike Pence - who headed the transition team - about what he discussed with Kislyak.

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