Putin rips U.S. list targeting Russia’s elite as ‘unfriendly act’

The Trump administration has provided the Treasury Department with a list of about 210 Russians deemed close enough to Russian President Vladimir Putin to be targets for new sanctions.

The list, released late Monday night, fulfills a congressional demand that Washington punish the Kremlin for interference in the 2016 U.S. election. President Trump reluctantly signed the bill in August.

The White House stopped short of recommending that the Treasury Department place those named under sanctions at this point. However, it places those named under risk of future targeting.

Putin’s entire administration is on it, including Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, who recently issued an order to ban the satirical movie "The Death of Stalin" from Russian theaters, also made the list. Senior political figures named include Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin and Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika.

And then there are the 96 names of Russia’s richest "oligarchs," wealthy business leaders, bankers and state oil and gas company chiefs, many of whom are in Putin’s closest circles. Yuri Milner, a Silicon Valley investor, is named.

The unusual scope and breadth of the list show that the Trump administration is sticking to a policy that is anti-globalization and putting America first, said Fyodor Lukyanov, a Moscow-based foreign affairs analyst and editor of Russia in Global Affairs magazine.

If the Obama White House tried to move the Russian elite into a globalized world, the Trump administration is sending a signal with this list of doing the opposite, Lukyanov said.

Putin, at a summit in Moscow for Syria, said sarcastically it was "a pity" his name wasn’t on the list. He went on to call the list an "unfriendly act," which essentially put "all 146 million Russians on the list."

"The list shows that all Russian establishment, be it political or business … they are all potential targets," Lukyanov said. "It’s not about politics. That’s about business, and the business is about America’s interest first, whether it’s corporate or state interests."

"The United States has crudely violated all possible principles of international relations, making cooperation with Russia in various areas virtually impossible," Russian media quoted Franz Klintsevich, the deputy head of Russia’s Federation Council’s Committee on Defense and Security, as saying.

As for his inclusion on the list, "I am pretty much indifferent," Peskov said, adding that the entire administration’s last names were included on the list. "It’s also worth noting that all these people are effectively being called enemies of the United States."

2:15 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from Vladimir Putin describing the the list as an "unfriendly act."

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Lawmakers scramble on immigration as government shutdown paused

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on Tuesday sought a way forward on an immigration deal including protection for “Dreamer” immigrants and border security before federal funding runs out again next month.

On Monday, the Republican-led Congress passed a measure signed into law by President Donald Trump to fund the federal government through Feb. 8 following a three-day shutdown. But they will have to return to thorny budget issues that have now become intertwined with contentious immigration policy.

“We don’t have a lot of time in which to get it done,” Republican U.S. Senator Mike Rounds told MSNBC.

Trump himself has vacillated on immigration between tough rhetoric demanding a U.S. border wall and a softer tone urging a “bill of love” for Dreamers, prompting Democrats and some Republicans to call him an unreliable negotiating partner.

“Nobody knows for sure that the Republicans & Democrats will be able to reach a deal on DACA by February 8, but everyone will be trying,” Trump wrote in a post on Twitter, referring to when government funding would next run out.

“The Dems have just learned that a Shutdown is not the answer!” Trump added, after calling for “a big additional focus put on Military Strength and Border Security.”

As federal employees returned to work on Tuesday they faced a new furlough in 17 days if lawmakers and Trump do not find another short-term fix or a longer term budget.

A funding bill easily passed after Senate Democratic leaders accepted a pledge by Republicans to hold a debate later over the fate of the Dreamers and related immigration issues.

Many Republicans have said they want to help Dreamer immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children.

Trump canceled former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that shielded them from deportation. Without congressional action, the program will end in March.

Rounds, along with U.S. Senator Angus King, an independent often aligned with Democrats, said any immigration solution was likely to focus on Dreamers and extra border security.

“We can’t try to do comprehensive immigration in three weeks,” King told MSNBC, adding on CNN that lawmakers were likely to pass another stopgap bill to fund the government.

Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney, however, indicated the White House might be looking for a bigger deal.

“We want a large agreement. We want a big deal that solves the reason that we have a DACA problem in the first place,” Mulvaney said on CNN.

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