Pelosi: Mnuchin briefing was a waste of time

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for his classified briefing on why the Trump administration is easing sanctions on Russian oligarchs. CNN's Evan Perez has more.

Posted: Jan 11, 2019 5:05 PM
Updated: Jan 11, 2019 5:29 PM

Speaker Nancy Pelosi slammed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday, calling a closed-door briefing on Russia sanctions "a waste of time" and "one of the worst classified briefings" she'd received during the Trump administration.

Pelosi said that Mnuchin mostly read from an unclassified document and let other officials do most of the talking.

"The secretary barely testified at all," she said.

House Democrats called the hearing under a 30-day review window following Treasury's notification in December that sanctions would be lifted on two companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin who also has ties to Trump's convicted former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Treasury announced last month it would drop sanctions on Rusal, the world's second-largest aluminum producer, as well as EN+ Group, the company that holds Deripaska's stake in both Rusal and GAZ Group, a Russian automotive conglomerate.

Asked whether she would consider a resolution of disapproval to block the removal of sanctions, Pelosi said, "We'll see."

Mnuchin said he was "somewhat shocked" by Pelosi's comments. Mnuchin said he appeared voluntarily two days after the request was made and he answered roughly half the questions that were asked.

"We sat through and gave them close to an hour and half and answered all their questions," he said.

Mnuchin said that he had received a Democratic request to extend the 30-day review period on lifting of the Russia sanctions, and that he would "seriously take into consideration" the request.

"There's no linkage whatsoever" to Russia and the lifting of sanctions was not politically motivated, Mnuchin added.

Mnuchin said in a statement before the briefing that the Rusal and EN+ Group will face "real and swift consequences" if they fail to comply with commitments made in order to have sanctions lifted.

"Treasury will be vigilant in ensuring that En+ and Rusal meet these commitments," Mnuchin said in a statement. "If these companies fail to comply with the terms, they will face very real and swift consequences, including the reimposition of sanctions."

Mnuchin said he was committed to providing Pelosi and several committee chairs a full briefing to answer their questions and concerns.

The briefing marked a first step toward tougher oversight of the Trump administration on Russia-related matters. It comes as Democrats mull whether to formally push back against the sanctions relief for the Russian companies, announced last month.

In the statement, Mnuchin said En+, Rusal and ESE had been designated for sanctions because they were majority-owned or controlled by Deripaska.

These firms he said have undergone "significant restructuring and governance changes" that have cut Deripaska's ties and "significantly diminish his ownership."

"They have committed to provide Treasury with an unprecedented level of transparency into their dealings to ensure that Deripaska does not reassert control," said Mnuchin.

On Monday, seven House Democratic committee chairmen sent a letter to Mnuchin raising concerns about terminating the sanctions and demanding a briefing.

"As the chairs of committees with oversight jurisdiction over the US response to Russia's attempts to interfere in our elections and other hostile actions, we have a number of concerns about the agreement that the US has reached with Mr. Deripaska," the lawmakers wrote.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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