The Trump administration will not issue a waiver allowing oil giant ExxonMobil to avoid U.S. sanctions and resume drilling operations in Russia.
The Department of the Treasury, in consultation with President Donald Trump, announced it was rejecting waiver requests from Exxon and other companies looking to restart Russian operations disrupted by international sanctions.
“In consultation with President Donald J. Trump, the Treasury Department will not be issuing waivers to U.S. companies, including Exxon, authorizing drilling prohibited by current Russian sanctions,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement.
Exxon lobbied the Obama administration to adjust sanctions so employees could leave the Russian Arctic. Obama granted Exxon temporary relief.
Exxon sought a Treasury Department waiver to resume a joint operation with Rosneft in the Black Sea, The Wall Street Journal reported. Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson hammered out the deal with Rosneft, a state-owned oil company, in 2012.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson served as Exxon’s CEO until joining the Trump administration in early 2017. Democrats worried Tillerson’s connections to Russia would undermine U.S. sanctions imposed after the country fomented civil war in Ukraine and annexed Crimea.
Congress has launched an investigation into Russia’s actions during in the U.S. presidential election, and the FBI has an investigation into connections between Trump campaign officials and Russian intelligence.
Some Democrats have alleged there’s evidence the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, but none of it’s been made public.
Mnuchin’s rejection of Exxon’s waiver, much like the recent missile strike against the Assad regime, casts more doubt that the Trump administration will take a softer approach to Russia than previous administrations.
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