tv Washington Journal Alina Polyakova Discusses U.S. Sanctions Against Russia CSPAN July 16, 2017 1:24am-1:54am EDT
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lobbying efforts against u.s. impose sanctions. from washington journal, this is half an hour. director of europe research at the atlantic council. she is here to discuss russia's lobbying efforts, historically and against today's sanctions opposed against them. thank you for joining us. guest:. thank you for having me host: let's get your reaction to the latest is that a former russian counterintelligence personl was the eighth in the room and the meeting conducted with donald trump jr. and jared kushner, paul manafort last june. what do you think the implications of that revelation are? guest: as far as i know about the specific individuals we are discussing, he was someone who became a lobbyist and was
engaged in this effort for quite some time in the united states. he had dual citizenship, russia and u.s. that not that surprising somebody of the nature would've joined the meeting because the russian attorney who he will be hearings a lot about, the person who asked for the meeting supposedly, was a lobbyist herself and likely worked closely with this other individual and other lobbying efforts on behalf of russian business interests and the russian government. we have to understand about the issian contact -- context people in the soviet days, and i think this individual was old enough to have experience, often deeply involved the military or other forms of government services. that does not mean they have kept that kind of relationship to this day, but that remains to be seen. host: explained the overall goal of russia and their lobbying efforts. what is the strategy?
guest: what is particularly interesting about this meeting manisky act. essentially that is the real reported,at has been and donald trump jr. has said why she was there in the first place. firstt was the legislation passed by congress in 2012 to actually create and give authority to the president to sanction specific individuals who the russian federation were related or involved in the death of -- the full picture is since then who are closeans to president putin who have business interests close to mr.
putin have been sanctioned under this bill. that is starting to hurt many of those close to the kremlin. as a result, since then many irms part and pr f of behalf of russian business interests and the russian government, which is intertwined with business interests, have been lobbying congress aggressively to ease the sanctions. was and hows who he he let us getting here. guest: he was the young russian lawyer. he was ethical, moral, and believed in the rule of law, which to most americans may sound odd. but that is not a given in places like russia today and other corrupt authoritarian regimes. mid-2000'sing in the for a u.s. law firm. he was a tax lawyer, and also
represented a company called arbitrage capital, one of the largest investors in russia. he basically uncovered a scheme by the russian tax police and russian authorities to try to steal $230 million from the russian treasury. they were basically trying to take the tax rebate away from arbitrage capital. tickets, located on the financial side, but he uncovered the scheme and went to the authorities in russia. when he did that he was arrested. he was held under really trumped up charges for about a year and a russian prison where he dies. the russian human rights court investigated his death and found he suffered severe beatings and was never treated and that was the cause of his death. the mass human rights abuses. since then, many russian human rights activists and opposition leaders were involved in trying
to get some consequences for his death. the act was that consequence. host: we are talking with alina polyakova of the atlantic council about u.s. sanctions imposed against russia. democrats can call (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001. , (202) 748-8002. we have heard a lot about adoptions being a part of this meeting and about the act. tell us how adoptions work into all of this. guest: when the russians talk about adoption, what they are talking about is removing sanctions. what is the connection? the actaliation to congress passed in 2012, the russians retaliated. that passed something called the
-- laws were named after a russian child who was adopted by an american couple in 2008 and died in a hot car. this happened many years before the russians did anything about it, but it is to retaliate for sections being imposed on russian corrupt officials and human rights abusers. it prohibited future adoptions of russian children by americans. at the end of the day the only people this hurts are the russian people because these children were not going to be adopted in russia. is a serious problem in the orphanages. many of these kids have no other place to go. now with the russians talk about , let's renew this relationship, lift the adoption ban, they were imposed -- mr. putin it as retaliation for u.s. sanctions against russian
cronyism. host: jack, you were on with alina polyakova. caller: thank you very much. my ancestry happens to be german . why do we constantly have to have this conflict with russia? i was a big supporter of ronald reagan in the 1980's. went aftertration the soviet union hard. in fact, they actually believed in 1983 that the reagan administration was preparing a massive nuclear first strike. you probably know this. why this is constantly have to hack continue -- have to continue? i think there is money involved here. we should have better relations with russia. what do we want? a war with russia?
they are the only nation in the world that can destroy the united states for their nuclear strikeforce. guest: i think what the viewer points to is the fact that u.s. relations with russia before the soviet union have always been tense. certainly in the soviet days, wech the caller discusses, maintained a containment and deterrence regime which was much more powerful than russia is today. we have to be careful what we talk about the soviet union and russia. they are different countries. russia is less economically stable. it is less economically powerful in the world stage and just not as much a relevant level actor no matter what putin has been doing in foreign policy recently. we all want better relations with the russian federation. russia is a major nuclear power. it has the capacity and ability to destroy the united states, that is true.
we need to engage with them to make sure we don't go off in our relationship. there has been a long history of the russians tearing of international agreements, including some very serious agreements on arms, like the imf treaty. if you want a better relationship, you have to know you can trust the person on the other side of the table. so far since the end of the cold war, the russians have not demonstrated they are a trustworthy partner to the united states. until there is some action on the russian side to do so, abide by international agreements, i don't know where removed from their. -- from there. host: dave is: from new york. -- is calling from new york. caller: in terms of bretton
woods and u.s. dollars, when we put these sanctions on china, russia, iran, are we pushing them out of that system? are we encouraging them to develop trade blocs and trade relations outside the u.s.? to instance, china is trying re-create -- they want to go to -- re-create the silk road and go directly to europe. are sanctions causing them to leave the dollar reserve system and try trading outside the u.s.? guest: i think sanctions are a powerful policy tool but we have to be smart and how we use them. broad economic sectoral sanctions on large parts of industry or whole countries often don't work as well to hurt
the people who are actually carrying out stealing money from their own people, or carrying out mass human rights abuses. the sanctions have focused primarily on the personal sanctions against specific individuals. isn you are talking about this causing them to cause different kinds of pacts relationships, i think it has less to do with the sanctions and more to do with the desire of other growing, rising powers specifically and less so russia to compete with the united states on the world stage economically and ultimately militarily. they will be doing this even if we have the sanctions regimes against russia for its violation of human rights in territorial integrity. host: speaking of sanctions, congress is pondering a bill for additional sections against
on election meddling. bolstering sanctions on russia has stalled into congress finger-pointing, leading people -- they want to oppose a bill that would allow congress to impose sanctions and limit the power of the white house to lift the sections. do you believe that the russians did meddle in the election? if so, are sanctions the way to punish them? guest:guest: yes, i certainly agree with the findings of the u.s. intelligence community that the russians did interfere in our election in 2016. i think that is the opinion of most policymakers on the hill. on republican and democratic side. the sanctions are the embodiment of that growing bipartisan sentiment. we have to do something to
impose some pain on russia for its interference in our sovereignty rights. that what remember happened during the election had nothing to do with president trump or candidate clinton at the time. it was an attack on our democracy. it had nothing to do with partisan politics. it was an attack on the dnc and clinton this time. it could have just as well been attacked -- an attack on republicans. we see congress specifically the senate has been supportive of doing more. the legislation on the senate side passed by a huge margin, 98-2 out of 100. it is stuck in the house because of some concern to perhaps it boxes the president in too much. once congress does legislate sanctions like we have done before with iran or libya, it is difficult to remove them. it limits the president's
ability to act. if the russians do something to return the crimean peninsula to your crane or pull their troops out of eastern ukraine, it will be difficult if congress legislate sanctions for the president to ease those in response to russia's good behavior. host: james from newark, new jersey on the democratic line. caller: covers you doing? the point. i go back to russia with the crew shop days -- kruschev days. that's off our i go back with russia. at the than russia for a long time. i have been with them since. i take the united states over russia any day. to deal with putin, it is very
simple. freeze his finances. thank you. caller hit the nail on the head. if you want to impose serious pain to the russian elite, not the russian people who are very much victims of the regime in many ways, we have to focus on the personal sanctions. we have to hit him where it hurts and that is in the finances, in the way the russian elite, the russian oligarchs who use westernand financial institutions the high the money because they don't trust that on banks. -- don't trust their own banks. we have power to say this will not continue, to freeze the assets. the treasury department has a lot of leeway to do so. that is also part of the sanctions we were discussing earlier. how do we target specific individuals who abuse are
financial institutions the hide their own illicit stolen funds? host: john from san clemente, california on the republican line. you are on with alina polyakova. caller: good morning. question -- as far as the hacking by the russians, the liberal media, they are saying the dnc was hacked by russia but there is no proof, number one. assangewo, julian basically told us who was the source. how you feel about that? there is no proof and it will not give over the server. a little fishy, don't you think? guest: i may have to disagree with you. i strongly believe our intelligence community. the cia, the fbi, other
intelligence agencies have concurred that there was russian meddling, specificly russian meddling in the dnc system. it was attributed to russian-backed hacker groups, the so-called fancy bear and cozy bear groups. i have no reason to doubt the findings of professionals who serve the u.s. government. so why have our intelligence community agencies not turned over the more smoking gun style evidence? they released a report in early january of this year, a classified report that discussed what their findings were not revealing the methods. there was a clear reason for that. if they revealed the method of how they actually find these guys out, that puts our national
security at risk. that is exactly what happened thatthis massive nsa leak edward snowden perpetrated. has notthat information been used against the united states and is hampered our efforts to find terrorists and identify isis radicals. there is a clear reason why the intelligence community has not been used against the united has been only very constrained in what he can tell the in public. at the end of the day we have to trust these are real professionals and that they are reporting the findings as they see them. guest: host: we are talking with alina polyakova of the atlantic council. advisored as an to nongovernmental organizations. ohio on theing from independent line. caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. i guess my basic comment is i
think for the title of your program "lobbying by the russians to lessen or remove sanctions," i don't have a problem with that as long as it is transparent. we know who is doing it. we know who they are trying to influence. when these things are being hidden, when it is being done subvertand trying to democracy that we have here in our country, it kind of leaves us open to these kind of thing for they can come in and try to subvert the freedoms we have. i think there was clearly an attempt to affect the elections last year by the russians. i think they are obviously try to influence -- trying to influence the new administration. i think this has to be dealt
with in the best way possible and whatever sanctions may actually change the behavior of the russians, i applaud. thank you for taking my comment. host: do you want to react? guest: i think the caller is right in some ways. many private companies, businesses, other governments lobby the u.s. congress to push through the agenda they are looking for. we have something called the foreign agent registration act. individuals or firms working on behalf of foreign governments are required to register under that act and report their clients. it is publicly available. with the caller also says is many of the russian consultants or lobbying agents actually did not register. we don't know exactly what they were doing and what they were up
to. i think that is a major gap in transparency. this individual we brought up earlier president this meeting with donald trump jr. back over the summer, he himself has said he never registered. i think that is a serious gap. we need to be better about enforcing an opposing fara. post in today's washington it says that russia signaled they will retaliate if the united states does not release two properties seized as a sanction for election meddling. they said it is "ready to take reciprocal measures." in the seats in december as part of the obama administration's response to foreign meddling. interferencens of and other accusations were an
obvious lie. what was your reaction to that? guest: this is an interest in development to goes directly to how russia's general motors tend to work -- general motives tend to work. the obama administration expelled about 35 diplomats they accused of engaging in spying in the united states. a closed down the russian properties in the d.c. area that were used allegedly, according to the obama administration, to carry out spying activities. the russian government at the time did not retaliate. the russian president, president putin specifically said we will take no actions. i think the desire and the hope was that relations would normalize and stabilize under the new administration. we have not quite seen that come to fruition yet, but i think now the russians are realizing that maybe there hopes were set a little too high.
maybe they were are not going to get what they were looking for from our president and his administration. now the are thinking we are not going to get what we thought we would get so why should we continue to play nice? weekend expel u.s. diplomats, close down u.s. properties as well. host: henry from new york city on the democratic line. caller: good morning. thank you for a wonderful program. here is what i am calling. i sense a great well of ignorance among americans, especially those that say, why should we have been abusive -- had the serial relationship with her -- adversarial relations with the russians? they did not make me pull my finger down. there is a lot of ignorance out here. i give you the following comments. the attitudesia under the russian government towards the press is lethal.
there is a lot of assassinations going on. people should read first. you don't have that in the united states and we don't. you also have the polonium situation in great britain. the only way to get polonium is from a nuclear reactor. mr. -- the family sent home from the united states a few years ago, i could not tell of that family came from kansas or the youuralls. putin is a political virtuoso. host: let's give alina a chance to take on a couple of them. guest: since the collapse of the soviet union there has been a lot of confusion. not just on the side of the general american public, about
local leaders as to what is russia today. are they friends, potential partners, are they have a series to the united states trying to undermine the u.s. national interests around the world? has set in confusion our political leaders. the bush and obama administrations tried to have a reset with russia. every single time it did not work. it did not work primarily not because the united states wasn't genuine or we did not try to have a better relationship and solvspecific problems -- specific problems togethere. the russians at the end of the day for the domestic politics need united states as an enemy. if anybody who watches russian television over the last 20 years, you would be shocked at the what you hear about the united states. ask the average
american to watch, there are a couple of clips about things being said about america in russian state media, i think people would change their minds quite quickly about what russian intentions are towards the united states. host: crystal on the independent line in pennsylvania. just a few seconds left. what is your question for alina polyakova? guest: caller: good morning. i just have a question. what you think the relationship is between trump and russia? i personally believe the dossier was correct and accurate. why do you think trump supports russia's so much -- russia so much? host: let's give her a chance to respond. guest: the dossier -- i should point out a lot of the information has not been
verified. we do have to be careful how much of that we take as real and how much not. i think the question of why president trump seems to want a better relationship with russia is one most of us cannot answer. at the end of the day having better relations with russia is something that all of us should want, but at the same time the united states cannot sacrifice our values and principles in the pursuit of that relationship. i think what the administration has been finding out, like many administrations previously, is that it is fraud and difficult and the russians are not reliable partners so we have to find other ways for the things to get done without relying on shem as an ally in our attempt and desire to keep america safe. host: alina polyakova of the atlantic council, think you for joining us today.
you can find more at atlanticcouncil.org. you can find her on twitter. announcer: in his weekly address, the president talks about the health bill. pres. trump: my fellow americans, next week, the senate is going to vote on legislation to save americans from the obamacare disaster. obamacare has wreaked havoc on american lives, and if we don't replace it, the calamity will only get worse, and i mean get worse by a lot. here is just one story, representative of so many others. carrie couey and her husband are cattle ranchers. they have six children and the youngest is autistic. her family's rates under obamacare skyrocketed, eventually costing the coueys three times more than their previous plan. they were dropped from healt