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A police officer stands by a forensics tent as investigations continue into the poisoning of Sergei Skripal in March. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The Trump administration has officially accused Russia of illegally using chemical weapons in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, England earlier this year, thereby triggering fresh sanctions on the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Trump had been facing pressure to take this step from some Republicans in Congress, particularly after his widely-criticized summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki. This is another instance in which the administration's actions stand in sharp contrast to Trump's friendly rhetoric toward the Kremlin.

The details: The first set of sanctions would immediately impose limits on exports and financing, which NBC News notes "may have limited impact, because it largely overlaps with other restrictions already in place, such as on selling arms to Russia."

  • The sanctions would prohibit the granting of licenses for the export certain goods to Russia, which a senior State Department official told NBC "could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in future exports to Russia."
  • "The second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the U.S, and cutting off nearly all exports and imports," per NBC News.
  • The Trump administration has already expelled 60 Russian diplomats over the attack, though Trump was reportedly annoyed that European allies took much more limited steps.

The Russian Embassy in Washington didn't immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

U.S: Nord Stream 2 "will not move forward" if Russia invades Ukraine

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. will make sure the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project between Russia and Germany won't go ahead if Russian troops invade Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price told NPR on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Germany's ambassador to the U.S. appeared to support Price's strong rhetoric on the strategically significant pipeline that would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion, per Axios' Zachary Basu.

Scoop: Stephanie Ruhle to replace Brian Williams on MSNBC

Photo: Nathan Congleton/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

MSNBC will soon announce plans to move morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle to the 11 pm ET hour that Brian Williams turned into an elite destination, two sources familiar with the move tell Axios.

Details: The 9 am ET hour, currently hosted by Ruhle, will become part of MSNBC's flagship morning show, "Morning Joe," which currently runs from 6 am to 9 am ET.

Oath Keepers leader denied bail on Capitol riot sedition charge

Oath Keepers co-founder Elmer Stewart Rhodes. Photo: Susan Walsh/AP

A federal judge ordered Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes to remain jailed Wednesday until trial on charges stemming from the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: The judge said the most prominent far-right figure charged in the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection had access to weapons and his alleged "continued advocacy for violence against the federal government" gave credence to prosecutors' view that, if released, Rhodes could endanger others.

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