Trump administration three weeks late on Russia sanctions. But it’s killed the office that coordinates them

Foreign Policy reports: The State Department shuttered an office that oversees sanctions policy, even as the Donald Trump administration faces criticism from lawmakers over its handling of new economic penalties against Russia.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which had been led by a veteran ambassador-rank diplomat with at least five staff, as part of an overhaul of the department, former diplomats and congressional sources told Foreign Policy.

Instead, the role of coordinating U.S. sanctions across the State Department and other government agencies now falls to just one mid-level official — David Tessler, the deputy director of the Policy Planning Office. The Policy Planning Office, which previously operated as a small team providing strategic advice to the secretary but did not manage programs or initiatives, has grown in power under Tillerson’s “redesign” of the department. [Continue reading…]

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