Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on Thursday blasted President Trump for reportedly considering whether to return two diplomatic compounds seized from Russia.
“I am stunned by the audacity of this President that he would dare reverse any form of the punishments imposed on Russia for election meddling when he and members of his team are under scrutiny for coordinating with Russian operatives to undermine our democracy,” she said in a statement.
“Those compounds enjoyed diplomatic immunity, which meant that U.S. law enforcement could not enter and activities that took place there could escape U.S. prosecution,” Waters added. “If the reports are true and Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGOP rep: Trump’s Paris deal exit ‘misguided’ Waters jabs at Trump for considering return of Russia compounds Bill Nye joins pro-Paris deal protests outside White House MORE intends to reverse Obama era punishments for Russia’s meddling in the election as well as Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, then you can be sure that I will fight tooth and nail to stop him.”
Water’s statement followed a report by The Washington Post on Wednesday that Trump’s administration is leading towards returning two Russian diplomatic compounds in Maryland and New York.
Former President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaTrump officials pressed State Dept staffers for plans to lift Russia sanctions: report Waters jabs at Trump for considering return of Russia compounds Bill Clinton on Trump’s Paris decision: ‘We owe our children more’ MORE seized the properties last December as retribution for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential race.
Obama also ejected 35 Russian intelligence operatives from America amid findings by the U.S. intelligence community that the Kremlin tried swinging the race in Trump’s favor.
Trump’s administration had initially proposed returning the compounds to Russia in exchange for permission to resume construction on a U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly told top Russian diplomats in April that the return of the compounds no longer hinged on the consulate’s completion.
The FBI and at least four congressional committees are currently probing Russian intrusions in the 2016 race, including possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Moscow.