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Trump Admin. to return Russian compounds in US

Most U.S. intelligence officials can relay stories of run-ins with Russian intelligence operatives - often moonlighting as lobbyists, diplomats and businessmen - hanging around popular Washington happy hours.

But it comes at an awkward time, however, as Congress and the FBI investigate whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation to influence the election in the President's favor.

The December steps taken by Obama, including the seizure of the Russian compounds, were the most recent additions to a sequence of sanctions placed on Russia by the US and our European allies in response to Russian aggression.

R.C. Hammond, a top State Department adviser, told the Washington Post that "the USA and Russian Federation have reached no agreements", and senior officials won't meet again until June.

The United States has reached no agreements with Russia, the State Department said Wednesday night in response to reports that the Trump administration was considering returning two Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States that the Obama administration shut down past year.

Trump's administration had initially proposed returning the compounds to the Russians in exchange for permission to resume construction on a US consulate in St. Petersburg. However, shortly after, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that they had "dropped any linkage" between the compounds and the consulate, according to the Post.




The Washington Post reported that Trump officials are specifically looking at whether to grant diplomatic immunity for the compounds - if they're returned.

Federal officials forced Russian diplomats out of the two facilities on December 29.

This subsequently sparked suspicion of whether the communication between Flynn and the Russian ambassador breached U.S. law, which prohibits private United States citizens from engaging in diplomatic disputes with foreign nationals.

Equipment is removed from a Russian compound at Pioneer Point in Maryland in December after President Barack Obama imposed sanctions for Russia's alleged interference in the presidential campaign. The Kremlin imposed the freeze in 2014 after the USA placed wide-ranging sanctions on Russian Federation in retaliation for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

It was later revealed that future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn discussed potentially lifting the sanctions with Kislyak during the transition.

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