Russia Sanctions Will Not Affect Trump- Putin Meeting Plans: White House

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Sarah Hucabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said earlier this week that talks were continuing between Trump and his lawyers about a possible interview with Mueller.

Trump has been criticized by many for not taking a stronger stance on Russian Federation election interference and destabilizing actions.

Rather than punishing Russian Federation for one specific action, the new sanctions hit back at the Kremlin for its "ongoing and increasingly brazen pattern" of bad behavior, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and briefed reporters on condition of anonymity.

Above all else, Russia's attempts to subvert Western democracy prompted the United States sanctions, officials said, in a direct nod to concerns that the USA president has failed to challenge Mr Putin for alleged interference in the 2016 election that brought Mr Trump to power.

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Outwardly, Trump has remained receptive to - even enthusiastic about - the prospect of sitting before Mueller, who is investigating whether his campaign colluded with Russian Federation and whether Trump attempted to short-circuit the investigation itself.

The United States has imposed a new round of sanctions against Russian business leaders, further escalating bilateral tensions and prompting a response from Russia's embassy.

"Not at all", Sanders said. But officials said the goal was to put pressure on Mr Putin by showing that those who have benefited financially from his position of power are fair game.

- Igor Rotenberg, the son of Arkady Rotenberg, a friend of Mr Putin's since they were teenagers. Both Mr Miller and Mr Kostin are longtime key members of Mr Putin's team.

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The state-owned Russian weapons trading company, Rosoboronexport and Russian Financial Corporation Bank were also targeted under new sanctions. Many other targets were associated with Russia's energy sector, including parts of Gazprom.

As a result of the punishment, all assets of the designated persons and entities that are subject to USA jurisdiction are frozen, and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them. Alexey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of the Security Council of Russian Federation, and Aleksandr Zharov, the Head of Roskomnadzor (Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, - ed.) appeared in the sanctions list as well.

Trump's administration reacted by expelling 60 Russians they accused of being spies working under diplomatic cover and Moscow responded in kind.

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