Sarah Sanders claims Russia doesn't deserve sanctions


The White House says Russia hasn't done anything wrong.

Trump's refusal to impose sanctions on Russia has been a consistent source of embarrassment for the administration, and it got even more embarrassing on Tuesday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders delivered her first press briefing in over a week, and faced a raft of questions on Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential election following Friday's indictments of 13 Russian nationals accused of election interference.

But when NBC News' Kristen Welker asked Sanders why Trump "hasn't implemented the sanctions that Congress passed last year," Sanders said Russia had not done anything to merit such action.

"Well, there's a process that has to take place, and we're going through that process," Sanders said. "That law also says that the countries have to violate something in order for those sanctions to go in place, and that hasn't necessarily happened."

Sanders' response is ridiculous on its face but consistent with an administration that has resisted efforts to punish Russia every step of the way. Even before taking office, Trump personally reassured Putin after President Obama took action against the Russians.

Since then, Congress has done what it could to force Trump into punishing the Russians, but Trump has done only the bare minimum. He publicly groused when he finally signed a veto-proof sanctions bill, missed one deadline to impose sanctions by three weeks, and publicly complained about Russia being too "heavily sanctioned" in November.

Most recently, Trump refused to impose sanctions again when faced with a January deadline.

Trump's weakness on Russia is an obvious political problem for him, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders' alternative facts aren't going to make it go away.