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: 614990

Reported Deaths: 7771
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1276671805
Ramsey53587912
Dakota47636477
Anoka43650466
Washington27897298
Stearns22870227
St. Louis18418321
Scott17814139
Wright16652153
Olmsted13678104
Sherburne1221696
Carver1084049
Rice8336112
Clay831592
Blue Earth775144
Crow Wing694099
Kandiyohi675385
Chisago631855
Otter Tail594387
Benton590498
Goodhue489174
Douglas481781
Mower480334
Winona467852
Itasca465768
Isanti448567
McLeod438061
Morrison431162
Beltrami413563
Nobles411950
Steele403219
Polk391673
Becker390557
Lyon367354
Carlton357958
Freeborn356234
Pine339023
Nicollet335745
Mille Lacs317256
Brown310040
Le Sueur302128
Todd290533
Cass290033
Meeker269044
Waseca243923
Martin238333
Roseau213121
Wabasha20963
Hubbard199241
Dodge19383
Renville184746
Redwood179541
Houston177916
Cottonwood168324
Wadena166023
Fillmore162310
Faribault158420
Chippewa154838
Pennington154320
Kanabec148328
Sibley148110
Aitkin140337
Watonwan13699
Rock130219
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11467
Murray107910
Swift107818
Koochiching96919
Stevens92911
Clearwater89617
Marshall89118
Lake85421
Wilkin84813
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5893
Mahnomen5679
Norman5519
Unassigned51293
Kittson49322
Red Lake4037
Traverse3865
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1760

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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