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 10:39 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 118587

Reported Deaths: 3310
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8050179
DeSoto728580
Harrison549185
Jackson480088
Rankin404686
Madison386194
Lee366582
Forrest311878
Jones296684
Washington2627100
Lafayette255043
Lauderdale2546135
Lamar231940
Oktibbeha204855
Bolivar203979
Neshoba1868111
Lowndes181962
Panola172040
Leflore170688
Sunflower164349
Warren156156
Monroe153873
Pontotoc150620
Marshall148430
Lincoln143359
Pike140656
Copiah139336
Scott127029
Coahoma125837
Union125825
Yazoo123434
Simpson123149
Grenada122939
Tate121039
Itawamba117226
Leake116342
Pearl River116360
Holmes115060
Adams109445
Prentiss109220
Alcorn104512
Wayne102722
George101719
Covington98829
Marion95943
Tippah94924
Newton87227
Hancock86828
Chickasaw86727
Tallahatchie85526
Winston85221
Tishomingo82741
Attala80527
Clarke77053
Clay71022
Jasper69617
Walthall64427
Calhoun63313
Noxubee60217
Smith60216
Yalobusha56416
Montgomery55823
Lawrence54414
Claiborne53916
Tunica53717
Perry52423
Carroll50312
Stone49114
Greene48118
Humphreys45117
Amite42813
Quitman4236
Jefferson Davis42112
Webster37813
Benton36710
Wilkinson34221
Kemper33315
Sharkey28715
Jefferson27910
Franklin2513
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 161537

Reported Deaths: 2718
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23769383
Mobile17039318
Tuscaloosa10539141
Montgomery10435199
Madison946798
Shelby756365
Baldwin674369
Lee662465
Calhoun468962
Marshall445251
Etowah436552
Morgan426335
Houston421234
DeKalb351229
Elmore326558
St. Clair307042
Limestone295131
Walker285593
Talladega273937
Cullman260025
Lauderdale237143
Jackson221917
Autauga210331
Colbert208232
Franklin207732
Blount198825
Russell19763
Chilton190932
Dallas188127
Coffee182611
Dale180852
Covington176729
Escambia175331
Clarke138017
Chambers137047
Pike135514
Tallapoosa135387
Marion110331
Barbour10459
Marengo103522
Butler101541
Winston94313
Geneva9357
Lawrence87733
Pickens87418
Bibb85615
Randolph84316
Hale78030
Cherokee76114
Clay75812
Washington75412
Henry7286
Lowndes71728
Monroe66010
Bullock65017
Crenshaw61130
Perry5966
Fayette59413
Cleburne5779
Wilcox57112
Conecuh56513
Macon54120
Lamar5165
Sumter47721
Choctaw39412
Greene34616
Coosa2143
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