Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Photo: Igor Russak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Treasury Department announced Wednesday it would lift sanctions on three Russian companies tied to Oleg Deripaska, an oligarch who once employed President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: As part of the agreement, Deripaska — who remains under U.S. sanctions for allegations of extortion and illegal business practices — will reduce his ownership stake in the parent company of Rusal, the world's second largest aluminum producer. When Rusal was sanctioned by the U.S. in April 2018, it had a dramatic impact on global aluminum prices. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin explained in a statement that the U.S. had originally sanctioned the companies because of their ties to Deripaska, "not for the conduct of the companies themselves."

Go deeper

Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

1 hour ago - World

Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.