April 17, 2018

One day after U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley announced new sanctions on Russia and Russian oligarchs, Donald Trump clawed them back, saying he hadn't given final approval, according to a Washington Post report.

Preparations to punish Russia anew for its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government over an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria caused consternation at the White House. Haley had said on CBS News’s “Face the Nation” that sanctions on Russian companies behind the equipment related to Assad’s alleged chemical weapons attack would be announced Monday by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

But Trump conferred with his national security advisers later Sunday and told them he was upset the sanctions were being officially rolled out because he was not yet comfortable executing them, according to several people familiar with the plan.

Administration officials said the economic sanctions were under serious consideration, along with other measures that could be taken against Russia, but said Trump had not given final authorization to implement them. Administration officials said Monday it was unlikely Trump would approve any additional sanctions without another triggering event by Russia, describing the strategy as being in a holding pattern.

Given James Comey's claim that Trump would not even criticize Putin in private, it seems unreasonable at this point not to assume there is more there than meets the eye. Whether it is kompromat, some weird sense of personal loyalty, or something else, he seems incapable of using the power he has to rein in Putin's.

Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker noted in an article on Sunday that Trump is extremely frustrated with the investigation because he cannot woo Putin.

“I can’t put on the charm,” Trump complains. “I’m not able to be president because of this witch hunt.”

Awww. Poor baby.

UPDATE: Nikki Haley, responding to suggestions she got ahead of Trump on this:

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