President Joe Biden reportedly overruled Secretary of State Tony Blinken and other senior staff members in preventing sanctions against the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany from going forward, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.
The Biden administration scrapped plans for sanctions against Russia aimed at the construction of the pipeline earlier in June. Blinken and his staff reportedly recommended a suite of sanctions that could derail the construction of the pipeline, which is now already 90% complete. Biden reportedly overruled the plan, however, arguing the sanctions would jeopardize U.S. relations with Germany and were likely to only slow construction, according to WaPo.
Republicans on Capitol Hill have repeatedly attacked Biden for removing obstacles to the pipeline’s completion. Former President Donald Trump introduced a series of sanctions that succeeded in slowing, but not stopping, the construction while he was in office. (RELATED: Vladimir Putin Challenges Joe Biden To A Live Debate Over ‘Killer’ Comments)
Are we just going to pretend that Putin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline doesn’t exist–even after Biden gave away our sanctions as a multi-billion dollar gift to Russia? https://t.co/5kvQBaB7qs
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) June 4, 2021
“Waiving sanctions for Nord Stream 2 ‘because it’s almost completely finished’ is the wrong message to our allies and partners and undermines our credibility and global leadership,” a group of over 60 congressional Republicans wrote in a public letter to Biden earlier in June.
“Lifting these sanctions prioritizes Russian energy over American energy and Russian jobs over American jobs,” it continued. “We urge you to rethink your action and fully implement the Congressionally-mandated sanctions against all responsible parties and actors to permanently stop completion of Nord Stream 2.”
Biden is scheduled to have his first face-to-face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, following a week of diplomatic summits in the U.K. and Brussels.