Why did someone greenlight a banned Russian spy, allowing him to enter the US?(*Quora Question)
I am going to assume you are referring to the meetings held last week between some of Trump’s cabinet secretaries/appointees & 3 Russian operatives who are connected to Russian intelligence. One person is the head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin. He was banned from entering the US when sanctions were placed on Russia due to their invasion of Ukraine back in 2014 when Obama was in the White House. Naryshkin was placed on the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” list that is overseen by the Treasury Department.
The problem is no one is forthcoming with the name of who allowed Naryshkin to enter the US. It is a mystery (as of 12:06 AM 1/31/18). The other problem is that Trump, or his admin, didn’t announce they were going to or had met with Russians. The Russian sanctioned news source Tass reported the meetings and the US found out from Russia in a tweet which included some of Trump’s activities. A final problem is that the SVR has been specifically named as being directly involved with the 2016 hacking of the Presidential election in the US. Even Pompeo, a Trump appointee, has said he believes Russia will meddle in the 2018 elections. Yet a man who works for the agency whose hands are dirty from the 2016 election hacking was allowed back in the country mere months before the mid-terms & it was hidden, unsuccessfully, from the citizens of America.
The Secretary of State can clear someone on the Blocked list to enter this country on a case-by-case basis. So, did Tillerson allow Naryshkin in for the “secret meeting?” They won’t comment.
Did Trump think we wouldn’t hear about the visit by the Russians, therefore, didn’t think it was a big deal to just bring him on over and into the country? We don’t know. The word on the street they talk between the US & Russia was addressing terrorism at FIFA and also at the upcoming Olympics. Fair enough and sounds normal sounding and reasonable. Unfortunately,, normal, reasonable and Trump administration are not synonymous.
But why all the secrecy? The meetings with the Russians took place a week before Trump declared that he didn’t think additional measures via sanctions were necessary and decided to postpone additional sanctions that were to be placed on Russia/Russians. Further watering down the effectiveness of the bipartisan-backed sanctions was the Trump administration copying the names of rich Russians out of Forbes Magazine while the intent of the sanction’s Kremlin List was to get the names of people closely related to Putin and the Kremlin, not necessarily the rich or richest in Russia. This lame attempt at a Kremlin List further undermines the effectiveness of future sanctions and will probably include names of families that had nothing to do with the events in 2015–16.
Final thought is how the meetings were conducted. It is speculated that the Russians met with Pompeo and Coats, along with other unknown American politicos. When asked about the nature or reality of the visit by the Russians the CIA released a statement saying that while it does not discuss the schedules of U.S. intelligence leaders, “rest assured that any interaction with foreign intelligence agencies would have been conducted in accordance with U.S. law and in consultation with appropriate departments and agencies.” While in normal times this answer might actually give Americans some peace of mind with Trump it just allows more speculation about recent protocol with Russian meetings. Trump has notoriously slighted the norms of meeting with hostile foreign nations by not having the meeting correctly recorded or having a witness in the room while the meeting was being held. When Trump insists on side-stepping the protocols put in place for tried-and-true reasons he is guaranteeing he said/she said political dialogue where we may never know exactly what was or wasn’t discussed. He could be talking about absolutely anything, including personal business promotion, and no one will ever be the wiser. He is purposely excluding a valuable check and balance that has been put in place to assure not only the US administration is on the up and up but also that the foreign participants are not enticing diplomats to forego their allegiance to the political process of America’s democracy.
Trump is not known for his honesty, trustworthiness, good judgment or putting Americas needs in front of his own self-serving needs. He, of all people, need to let the voters know what direction our government is thinking of taking and why. Trump works for the citizens of the United States of America and he does not seem to realize we are his boss, not the other way around.
*An original answer to a question on Quora. Answered by myself and I alone am the sole author and have ownership of presentation and ideas presented in the raw form above.