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: 585677

Reported Deaths: 7309
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1214151720
Ramsey50647870
Dakota45309445
Anoka41050434
Washington26510280
Stearns22001221
St. Louis17598302
Scott17081124
Wright15800137
Olmsted1314197
Sherburne1149085
Carver1037345
Clay809992
Rice7978106
Blue Earth742641
Crow Wing655888
Kandiyohi649182
Chisago585851
Otter Tail570178
Benton562397
Goodhue473572
Mower462532
Douglas461874
Winona451250
Itasca424353
McLeod419158
Morrison415460
Isanti412563
Nobles407048
Beltrami389458
Steele382715
Polk381068
Becker376950
Lyon358750
Carlton341453
Freeborn340229
Pine325121
Nicollet321743
Brown303840
Mille Lacs298952
Le Sueur287022
Todd279132
Cass266928
Meeker252040
Waseca236022
Martin229131
Roseau206719
Wabasha20423
Hubbard185341
Dodge18253
Renville178443
Redwood171736
Houston170515
Cottonwood163221
Fillmore154710
Wadena153821
Pennington153419
Chippewa151538
Faribault150419
Kanabec142924
Sibley142010
Aitkin133436
Watonwan13139
Rock127719
Jackson121511
Pipestone114526
Yellow Medicine113820
Pope10876
Murray10609
Swift104518
Stevens89511
Marshall87617
Clearwater85916
Koochiching81615
Lake80619
Wilkin80312
Lac qui Parle75022
Big Stone5954
Lincoln5763
Grant5668
Mahnomen5418
Norman5379
Unassigned48993
Kittson48322
Red Lake3957
Traverse3685
Lake of the Woods3193
Cook1560

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 365306

Reported Deaths: 5923
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57333622
Linn20748334
Scott19856240
Black Hawk15765308
Woodbury15097228
Johnson1442583
Dubuque13333209
Dallas1112998
Pottawattamie11060168
Story1056248
Warren574288
Clinton552492
Cerro Gordo536989
Sioux512974
Webster511193
Marshall481375
Muscatine475399
Des Moines452366
Wapello4286122
Buena Vista424040
Jasper417271
Plymouth400380
Lee373855
Marion360775
Jones297257
Henry290837
Carroll285052
Bremer283260
Crawford265940
Boone263234
Benton255455
Washington253550
Dickinson247643
Mahaska229451
Jackson220942
Kossuth215164
Clay214925
Tama209071
Delaware208240
Winneshiek196833
Page192522
Buchanan190531
Cedar188923
Hardin184843
Fayette184741
Wright183936
Hamilton179249
Harrison179173
Clayton169256
Butler164334
Mills161422
Madison160819
Floyd160042
Cherokee158438
Lyon157541
Poweshiek154733
Allamakee150551
Iowa148224
Hancock146934
Winnebago141231
Cass137854
Calhoun136913
Grundy136133
Emmet133940
Jefferson132235
Shelby130537
Sac130019
Appanoose128048
Union128033
Louisa127849
Mitchell125742
Chickasaw123815
Guthrie120829
Humboldt118826
Franklin117721
Palo Alto112323
Howard104222
Montgomery102838
Clarke99824
Unassigned9760
Keokuk95531
Monroe95129
Ida90234
Adair86232
Pocahontas85222
Monona82830
Davis82324
Osceola77916
Greene77610
Lucas77123
Worth7388
Taylor65712
Fremont6229
Decatur6069
Van Buren55718
Ringgold55524
Wayne53423
Audubon50710
Adams3384
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