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Fact check: Hillary Clinton's misleading comments

CNN's Jake Tapper, in partnership with FactCheck.org, looks at Hillary Clinton's misleading comments about President Trump's actions to deter Russian election interference.

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 10:20 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2018 10:39 PM

The US imposed sanctions Thursday against China's military for its purchases of Russian military equipment in a move US officials said is meant to punish Moscow for its "malign activities," including attacks on American elections.

"Today's actions are not intended to undermine the military capabilities or combat readiness of any country," the State Department said in a statement, "but rather to impose costs on Russia in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities."

The penalties were applied under a law that requires the US to sanction anyone undertaking significant transactions with certain people affiliated with Russian intelligence and military services, including arms manufacturers. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also expanded that blacklist Thursday, adding the names of 33 Russians to bring the total roster to 72 people.

Pompeo, in consultation with Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin, imposed sanctions on the Chinese military's Equipment Development Department and its director, Li Shangfu, for purchasing Su-35 combat aircraft and a S-400 surface-to-air missile system from Russia.

"This is a significant step," a senior administration official told reporters. The official said it was the first time anyone has been sanctioned for doing business with people on the blacklist of Russian operatives.

That list is mandated by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, passed by Congress amid concern that President Donald Trump would not take tough action against Russia and could even move to ease sanctions on Moscow.

The official was unable to say how much the Chinese company had spent on the Russian equipment, but said deliveries had taken place in December and January.

The goal of expanding the blacklist, the administration official said, was to make people "think twice" about doing business with anyone on it. "We hope (it) will be a signal to avoid to doing business with these people," the official said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang said Friday Beijing "expresses its indignation" over the sanctions, and was already in "solemn negotiation" with Washington.

"(The sanctions) have severely violated the basic norms of international relations and damaged the relations between the two countries and two militaries," Geng said at a daily press conference.

"We strongly urge the US side to correct the mistakes immediately and revoke the so-called sanctions. Otherwise the US has to bear the consequences of it."

Expanded blacklist adds Russians

The newly expanded blacklist includes the 25 Russian nationals who were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 presidential election by hacking Democratic targets and spreading propaganda on social media. The State Department announcement said all of these individuals are involved in the "intelligence sector" of the Russian government.

This includes the Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency and its patron, Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch who has close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prigozhin has ridiculed the criminal charges and is unlikely ever to enter a US courtroom.

The US also blacklisted the director of the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU and a dozen GRU officers who were indicted in June for allegedly hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman in 2016. Private emails from both targets were published by WikiLeaks before the election, roiling the race and giving Trump's campaign a boost.

A senior administration official stressed that the blacklist "is not itself a sanctions imposition; nothing specifically happens to someone by virtue of being on that list" but it is meant to signal that "if anyone else engages in a significant transition" with people on the list, they could face sanctions.

Earlier this year the Treasury Department sanctioned the Russian nationals indicted by the special counsel, barring US citizens from doing business with them. The State Department's step Thursday raises the prospect that foreigners might also face penalties for engaging with those on the list.

The people on the blacklist will likely remain in Russia, where they have safe haven and won't be extradited to the US, so the Treasury sanctions and State blacklists are likely the only punishment they'll face from US authorities.

Since Russia is the world's second largest weapons seller, after the US, the law raised the awkward prospect that Washington could be in the position of sanctioning allies who buy military equipment from Moscow.

The client list of these blacklisted Russian entities includes US counterterrorism partners such as Morocco, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. Qatar is a Russian customer, as well as crucial NATO ally Turkey. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Aug. 31 that his country will purchase the S-400 system as soon as possible.

The senior administration official said the US would distinguish between small sales and major purchases as it considered whether to apply sanctions.

"We are not targeting things such as simply the provision of spare parts and maintenance," the official said, adding that the administration would focus on "much bigger ticket items" that make for a "significant qualitative change in the nature of equipment shipped abroad."

The official said the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act had had the effect of delaying "several billion dollars' worth of arms transfers" from Russia to other countries, "but since China has now gone ahead and done what is clearly a significant transaction ... we feel it necessary and indeed are required by the law to take this step today."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 282916

Reported Deaths: 3359
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin605241095
Ramsey25467477
Anoka20172216
Dakota19573179
Washington12799108
Stearns1254793
Scott764754
St. Louis763197
Wright683036
Olmsted616033
Sherburne522339
Clay449655
Carver420912
Blue Earth379511
Rice377732
Kandiyohi365915
Crow Wing324131
Nobles298029
Chisago28838
Otter Tail273315
Benton269340
Winona251828
Mower239723
Polk230621
Douglas228929
Morrison215321
Lyon200011
McLeod19289
Beltrami190415
Goodhue180926
Becker178810
Steele17296
Itasca170524
Isanti170216
Todd167412
Carlton161310
Nicollet148223
Freeborn14195
Mille Lacs136530
Le Sueur135010
Waseca131811
Cass12368
Pine12216
Brown121110
Meeker11187
Roseau10143
Martin100620
Hubbard100022
Wabasha9351
Redwood82718
Dodge7980
Chippewa7907
Watonwan7884
Cottonwood7431
Renville73118
Sibley7224
Wadena7166
Aitkin69224
Rock6779
Pipestone67318
Houston6242
Fillmore6150
Yellow Medicine58211
Pennington5576
Murray5433
Kanabec54112
Swift5266
Pope4910
Faribault4901
Stevens4552
Clearwater4456
Marshall4377
Jackson4291
Lake3654
Unassigned35856
Koochiching3475
Wilkin3305
Lac qui Parle3213
Lincoln3171
Norman3166
Big Stone2801
Mahnomen2554
Grant2396
Red Lake1973
Kittson1876
Traverse1340
Lake of the Woods891
Cook600

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 216579

Reported Deaths: 2240
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk32244325
Linn13583162
Scott1055981
Black Hawk10541131
Woodbury9984116
Johnson920835
Dubuque886590
Story656619
Dallas611456
Pottawattamie589167
Sioux356425
Webster345831
Marshall339244
Cerro Gordo332342
Clinton312337
Buena Vista293514
Muscatine273968
Des Moines270616
Warren264810
Plymouth261938
Wapello244071
Jones225313
Jasper208440
Marion196719
Carroll192621
Lee191716
Bremer187212
Henry17257
Crawford170715
Benton162716
Tama149440
Jackson138511
Delaware137221
Washington135813
Boone130711
Dickinson128510
Mahaska123427
Wright11835
Buchanan11249
Clay10964
Hardin109310
Page10854
Hamilton10477
Clayton10455
Harrison102428
Calhoun10237
Cedar102213
Fayette10008
Mills9977
Floyd98614
Lyon9858
Kossuth9675
Poweshiek95512
Butler9375
Winneshiek91510
Iowa89611
Winnebago88023
Louisa82316
Hancock8217
Grundy81711
Sac8077
Chickasaw8014
Cherokee7814
Cass77221
Appanoose7509
Shelby7346
Allamakee73211
Guthrie72415
Humboldt7205
Mitchell7204
Union7166
Emmet71424
Franklin68820
Madison6614
Jefferson6441
Palo Alto6114
Unassigned5961
Keokuk5537
Pocahontas5442
Howard5089
Greene5070
Osceola5031
Clarke4644
Ida45510
Davis4415
Taylor4352
Montgomery43410
Monroe43112
Adair4218
Monona4032
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Van Buren3434
Worth3410
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