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Waters Statement on Reports that ExxonMobil Applied for Waiver from U.S. Sanctions on Russia

- In response to reports that ExxonMobil has requested special permission from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to be exempted from U.S. sanctions imposed in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and its violations of international law, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the Committee on Financial Services, made the following statement:

“It is deeply disturbing that ExxonMobil is now seeking a waiver from the sanctions which the Obama Administration put in place following Russia’s unlawful annexation of Crimea and in response to the extraordinary threat the Russian Federation’s activities pose to the peace, security and foreign policy interests of the U.S. These sanctions are in place for good reason, and they must remain in place. If President Trump refuses to hold the line on the current Ukraine-linked sanctions, I will do everything in my power to make sure that we do.

“If this waiver is allowed, ExxonMobil would reap billions in profits at the expense of our national security and foreign policy interests, and Russia would be rewarded for its interference in our Presidential election. The waiver must be denied.

“Considering Russia’s continued aggression in the Ukraine, its interference in our election on behalf of the Trump campaign, the Trump Administration’s many suspicious ties to Russia and the Kremlin, and the fact that Trump’s own Secretary of State led ExxonMobil, alarm bells should be going off for the American public.

“I have long said that we need to keep a watchful eye on Rex Tillerson, who negotiated this oil deal for ExxonMobil, and that all trails lead to a Trump Administration effort to lift the sanctions. This latest revelation reaffirms the critical need for Members of Congress to be vigilant in protecting our national interest.”

In February, President Trump signed a bill into law to once again allow oil, mining and gas companies like ExxonMobil to do business with corrupt governments without disclosing their transactions.

Also in February, Ranking Member Waters and Subcommittee Ranking Members sent a letter to the Committee Chairman, requesting that the Committee begin an immediate investigation to understand the nature of the communications between former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The lawmakers urged their Republican colleagues to investigate Flynn’s ties to Russia, including any commitments made regarding the Trump Administration’s sanctions policy towards the Kremlin and whether the President or other officials authorized Flynn’s communications with the Russian government.

In March, Ranking Member Waters and Committee Democrats called on the Committee to use the full range of its investigative powers to examine Deutsche Bank’s Russian money-laundering operation, and assess the integrity of the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into the scheme, given the Trump Administration’s conflicts of interest in the matter and the revelations of Attorney General Sessions’ communications with the Russian Ambassador.

To date, Chairman Hensarling has failed to respond to both letters.

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