The U.S. Treasury Department has fined ExxonMobil $2 million for violating U.S. sanctions against Russia three years ago, when Secretary of State Rex Tillerson served as the oil company’s CEO. The Treasury said ExxonMobil showed “reckless disregard” for U.S. law in 2014 when it signed contracts with Russian oil magnate Igor Sechin to develop offshore reserves in the Arctic. The move violated sanctions placed on Russia after it invaded Ukraine and annexed the Crimean peninsula. Tillerson said at the time his company opposed Russia sanctions, calling them “ineffective.” At the State Department Thursday, spokesperson Heather Nauert was asked whether Tillerson had changed his views on Russian sanctions.
Heather Nauert: “This all predates his time here at the Department of State.”
Matthew Lee: “I understand that.”
Heather Nauert: “And so, I’m going to refrain from giving any comment on that at this time.”
Matthew Lee: “I understand this predates his time as secretary of state, but now he is in a position in which he is part of the team that is supposed to enforce sanctions, not violate them or allow others to violate them, so I think it’s relevant to know what he thinks about this decision today.”
Heather Nauert: “I think—I will say this. The secretary continues to abide by his ethical commitments, including that recusal from Exxon-related activities.”
Secretary of State Tillerson is known to have close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who awarded Tillerson the country’s Order of Friendship decoration in 2013. The Treasury Department’s $2 million fine against ExxonMobil was the maximum amount allowed by law. It represents just over two hours’ profit for the oil giant.
Let’s have a big hand for all of my fellow Amerikans who voted for Comrade Trump. Stupid is as stupid does, and evil is what evil does.
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Wednesday that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”
In a remarkable public break with one of his earliest political supporters, Mr. Trump complained that Mr. Sessions’s decision ultimately led to the appointment of a special counsel that should not have happened. “Sessions should have never recused himself, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else,” Mr. Trump said.
In Phoenix, seven protesters were arrested last night blockading an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement van in efforts to stop the deportation of 35-year-old Guadalupe García de Rayos, a mother who has been living in the United States for the last 21 years. Rayos was arrested and detained Wednesday by immigration agents during one of her routine, required check-ins with immigration officials. Advocates say her arrest signals a clear shift toward the ramping up of deportations under the Trump administration, even of people like Rayos, who had been deemed a “low-priority” for deportation under President Obama. Rayos’s lawyer said, “We’re living in a new era now, an era of war on immigrants.” In protest, hundreds of people surrounded the ICE van carrying Rayos. One man locked himself to the wheels of the van, while others blockaded it with their bodies.
Protester: “So we’re here stopping the kidnapping of Lupita, so that she can be back with her family. I’m here because today it’s Lupita, tomorrow it may be my mom, and the next day it might be your mom. We need to stop the deportations, because there are 8 million people at risk. There are 8 million people who are a priority in the Trump administration, in the Trump deportation machine. And he’s not going to stop it. We have to stop it, in your city, here in Phoenix. Wherever you are, you can do this, too.”