Russia may try to undermine the Iran nuclear talks as it faces off with Washington over last week’s passenger-jet crash in Ukraine, the Daily Beast reports.
The United States could adopt new sanctions against Russian firms over Moscow’s suspected link to the downed Malaysian Airlines flight, the publication said on Friday. Russia lacks means to respond to any new U.S. sanctions with reciprocal penalties, contributing to concerns that Moscow may retaliate by interfering with the ongoing negotiations on Iran’s disputed nuclear activities.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Elliot Engel (D-N.Y.) called the Thursday crash “a serious act of terror.”
“If there was Russian complicity in it, that makes it even worse,” Engel said. Moscow faces charges that it supplied pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine with an anti-air missile believed to have brought down the airplane, killing all 298 people onboard.
The lawmaker noted that Russia is part of the six-nation bloc negotiating with Iran over its nuclear activities. Washington and its allies hope the talks will lead to long-term restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities capable of supporting bomb production.
“Considering that we are doing the P-5+1 and Russia’s part of that, there are all kinds of intertwining complications,” Engel said.
Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) also suggested Moscow may use its role in the Iran discussions to retaliate against new U.S. punitive actions.
“Russia [would] begin to see its overseas portfolios start to really become encumbered and therefore they might decide to be less helpful on Iran,” Kirk said.
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The Michael Flynn story is not going away for the White House as it tries to refocus its attention. The White House has denied requests from the House Oversight Committee for information and documents regarding payments that the former nationals security adviser received from Russian state television station RT and Russian firms. House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz and ranking members Elijah Cummings also said that Flynn failed to report these payments on his security clearance application. White House legislative director Marc Short argued that the documents request are either not in the possession of the White House or contain sensitive information he believes are not applicable to the committee's stated investigation.
The U.S. deployed "F-35 joint strike fighters" to Estonia on Tuesday. The "jets will stay in Estonia for several weeks and will be a part of training flights with U.S. and other NATO air forces." The move comes at a time of high tension between the U.S. and Estonia's neighbor, Russia. The two nations have been at odds over a number of issues recently, most of all being Vladimir Putin's support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in light of Assad's chemical weapons attack on his own people in the midst of a civil war.
It took long enough, but the Trump administration finally includes an Agriculture secretary. "The Senate easily approved Sonny Perdue on Monday" by a count of 87-11. Perdue enjoyed the support of Democrats like Delaware's Chris Coons and Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin, both of whom spoke in his favor.
"A media arm of the State Department is using federal resources to promote President Donald Trump’s private Florida golf club, fueling scrutiny of the nexus between the president’s official duties and his personal financial interests." On April 4, "Share America, the State Department’s social media-friendly news website, paid homage to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club ... hailing the president’s use of 'the winter White House, as Share America dubbed it, to host world leaders."