Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act
Great Seal of the United States
Introduced in115th United States Congress
Introduced onJuly 24, 2017
Sponsored byEdward Royce (R- CA)
Public Law115–44
Legislative history
  • Introduced in the House as H.R. 3364 by Edward Royce on July 24, 2017
  • Passed the House on July 25, 2017 (419–3)
  • Passed the Senate on July 27, 2017 (98–2)
  • Signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 2, 2017

The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, CAATSA[1] (H.R. 3364, Pub.L. 115–44), is a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia. The bill was passed during the 115th Congress, 98–2 in the Senate.[2] On August 2, 2017, President Donald Trump signed it into law while issuing two statements simultaneously that he believed the legislation was "seriously flawed".[3]

Introduction and passage in Congress[]

On 15 June 2017, the United States Senate voted 98 to 2 for the bill (an amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill), which was rooted in a bill introduced in January that year by a bipartisan group of senators over Russia′s continued involvement in the wars in Ukraine and Syria and its alleged interference in the 2016 election; with regard to Russia, the bill was designed to expand the punitive measures previously imposed by executive orders and convert them into law.[4][5] The bill in the Senate incorporated the provisions of the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act that was introduced in May 2017 by Senator Ben Cardin.[6][7]

An identical bill was introduced by Democrats in the United States House of Representatives on 12 July 2017. While the bill′s text was unchanged from what had passed the Senate on 15 June, it was titled as House legislation to avoid procedural hurdles.[8] The bill, after being revised to address some of the Donald Trump administration′s concerns, passed in the House 419 to 3 on 25 July.[9] On 27 July, the bill was passed overwhelmingly by the Senate.[10]


Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017
Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017
Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act

Regarding Russia, Section 241 of the Act required that "not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State" submit to Congress a detailed report — with the option of containing a classified annex — that would include "identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth" as well as an assessment of the relationship between such individuals and ″President Vladimir Putin or other members of the Russian ruling elite″. The section also called for an assessment of the "leadership structures and beneficial ownership" of Russian parastatal entities.[12]


President of the United States[]

On the day President Donald Trump signed the bill into law, he issued two separate, simultaneous statements.[3] In the statement meant for Congress[13] he said: "While I favor tough measures to punish and deter aggressive and destabilizing behavior by Iran, North Korea, and Russia, this legislation is significantly flawed. In its haste to pass this legislation, the Congress included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions" — such as restrictions on executive branch′s authority that limited its flexibility in foreign policy.[14][15] Among other things, the statement noted that the legislation ran afoul of the Zivotofsky v. Kerry ruling of the Supreme Court. The president appeared to indicate that he might choose not to enforce certain provisions of the legislation:[13] "My Administration will give careful and respectful consideration to the preferences expressed by the Congress in these various provisions and will implement them in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to conduct foreign relations."[14] It also said: "Finally, my Administration particularly expects the Congress to refrain from using this flawed bill to hinder our important work with European allies to resolve the conflict in Ukraine, and from using it to hinder our efforts to address any unintended consequences it may have for American businesses, our friends, or our allies."[14]

The other statement by Donald Trump noted: "[T]he bill remains seriously flawed – particularly because it encroaches on the executive branch's authority to negotiate. Congress could not even negotiate a healthcare bill after seven years of talking. By limiting the Executive's flexibility, this bill makes it harder for the United States to strike good deals for the American people, and will drive China, Russia, and North Korea much closer together.[16]"


On August 2, 2017, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi stated in an interview with state TV that, "In our view the nuclear deal has been violated and we will show an appropriate and proportional reaction to this issue,".[17]

North Korea[]

North Korean foreign ministry officials said that "US bid for imposing sanctions on different countries around the world is entirely outrageous leverage to meet its own interests"[18] and that " "sanctions bill" against the DPRK, Russia and Iran which recently passed the US Congress is prompting a growing international backlash", citing reactions by Russia, China, Venezuela, Germany, Austria and France.[19]


After the bill passed the Senate, on 28 July 2017, Russia′s foreign ministry announced measures that were cast as a response to the bill passed by Congress, but also referenced the specific measures imposed against the Russian diplomatic mission in the U.S. by the Barack Obama administration at the end of 2016.[20] Russia demanded that the U.S. reduce its diplomatic and technical personnel in the Moscow embassy and its consulates in Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok to 455 persons — the same as the number of Russian diplomats posted in the U.S. — by September 1; Russia's government would also suspend the use of a retreat compound and a storage facility in Moscow used by the US by August 1.[21][22] Shortly after, Russian president Vladimir Putin said that the decision had been taken by him personally and that 755 employees of the U.S. diplomatic mission must ″terminate their activity in the Russian Federation″.[23][24][21]

After the bill was signed, the Russian Foreign Ministry attributed the sanctions to "Russophobic hysteria" and reserved the right to take action if it decided to.[13] Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on August 2 that the law had ended hope for improving U.S.–Russia relations and meant "an all-out trade war with Russia." His message also said, "The American establishment has won an overwhelming victory over Trump. The president wasn't happy with the new sanctions, but he had to sign the bill."[25][26]

EU and EU member states[]

In mid-June 2017, Germany and Austria issued a joint statement that said the proposed bill heralded a "new and very negative quality in European-American relations" and that certain provisions affecting gas pipeline projects with Russia were an illegal threat to EU energy security.[27][28]

At the end of July 2017, the proposed law′s Russia sanctions caused harsh criticism and threats of retaliatory measures on the part of the European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker.[29] Germany's minister for Economics and Energy Brigitte Zypries described the sanctions as illegal under international law and urged the European Union to take appropriate counter-measures.[30]


In October 2018, India inked the historic agreement worth USD 5.43 billion with Russia to procure four S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile defence system, the most powerful missile defence system in the world ignoring the CAATSA act. Two oil companies ordered crude oil from Iran for November ignoring CAATSA. [31] [32]


On 29 September 2017, president Donald Trump issued a presidential memorandum, which delegated certain functions and authorities under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act as well as the 2014 Ukraine Freedom Support Act, and the 2014 Support for the Sovereignty, Integrity, Democracy, and Economic Stability of Ukraine Act to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence.[33][34]

Amendment of the relevant directives done by the U.S. Department of the Treasury on 29 September 2017 referred to the Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (CRIEEA) and further toughened the Sectoral Sanctions against Russia.[35][36]

On 11 October 2017, in a joint statement, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) questioned the Trump administration's commitment to the sanctions bill noting that the White House had "had plenty of time to get their act together" after missing an October 1 deadline to identify Kremlin-linked targets.[37]

At the end of November 2017, Reuters reported that a U.S. government blacklist of persons likely to be sanctioned, albeit not automatically, was to be drawn up by the Treasury Department and sent to Congress by the end of January 2018; the prospect of being included in the list already had the entire Russian business elite concerned, while the Kremlin viewed the U.S. move as an attempt to turn Putin's allies against him weeks before the presidential election.[38] Daniel Fried, Coordinator for Sanctions Policy (January 2013–February 2017), in early December 2017 said that Congress's resolve on the Russia sanctions was sowing fear in Russia, the goal being to "freeze them out of the U.S. system, freeze them out of the dollar and pretty much make them radioactive."[39]

On 29 January 2018, the Trump administration submitted to Congress five reports as mandated by CAATSA, including those on Iran′s missile programme, sanctioned persons of North Korea, and two versions (both classified and unclassified) of the report ″regarding senior political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation and Russian parastatal entities″.[1][40][41] The unclassified list published the following day by the Treasury Department contained names of 210 people, including 96 Russian tycoons close to president Vladimir Putin with wealth of $1 billion or more, as well as top Russian statespersons and officials, including Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, but excluding Vladimir Putin, all information having been drawn from public sources.[42][41] The Treasury Department formally explained the legal significance of publishing names of the individuals and entities included in its 29 January 2018 report on Russia: ″This report is not a "sanctions list."″[43] Speaking to the Senate Banking Committee on 30 January, the Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said: "The intent was not to have sanctions by the delivery report last night. The intent was to do an extremely thorough analysis — it's hundreds of pages — and there will be sanctions that come out of this report."[44]

On 15 March 2018, Mnuchin unveiled a series of sanctions, first time under CAATSA as well as Executive Order 13694, against various Russian entities and individuals, including the Russians indicted in Special Counsel investigation, the Main Intelligence Directorate, and the Federal Security Service.[45] Mnuchin issued a statement, saying: "The Administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure. These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia. Treasury intends to impose additional CAATSA sanctions, informed by our intelligence community, to hold Russian government officials and oligarchs accountable for their destabilizing activities by severing their access to the U.S. financial system."[46][47]

In mid-May 2018, Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), in a letter addressed to the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department and Intelligence Community, alleged that the Trump administration had failed to fully comply with the provisions of the CAATSA and requested investigations into that.[48][49]

On 20 September 2018, the U.S. government for the first time imposed secondary sanctions under CAATSA by sanctioning China′s Equipment Development Department of the Central Military Commission and its director, Li Shangfu, for "engaging in significant transactions with persons" on the List of Specified Persons, namely for transactions that involved ″Russia’s transfer to China of Su-35 combat aircraft and S-400 surface-to-air missile system-related equipment″.[50][51][52][53]

List of Russian tycoons named in the CAATSA unclassified report[]

The list of "oligarchs" submitted as part of one of the five reports delivered to Congress on 29 January 2018 included 96 names[54][55][42]

See also[]


  1. ^ a b "Treasury Releases CAATSA Reports, Including on Senior Foreign Political Figures and Oligarchs in the Russian Federation". US Department of the Treasury. 29 January 2018.
  2. ^ "U.S. Senate: U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 115th Congress - 1st Session". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Facing veto override on Russia sanctions, Trump's signing statement raises constitutional issues USA TODAY, August 2, 2017
  4. ^ Senate overwhelmingly passes new Russia and Iran sanctions WP, 15 June 2017.
  5. ^ Senate GOP, Dems agree on new sanctions on Russia AP, 13 June 2017.
  6. ^ "Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017 (S. 1221)". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  7. ^ Benjamin, Cardin, (June 6, 2017). "S.1221 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Countering Russian Influence in Europe and Eurasia Act of 2017". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Democrats introduce new bill on Russia and Iran sanctions Reuters, 12 July 2017.
  9. ^ Marcos, Cristina (July 25, 2017). "House passes Russia sanctions deal". The Hill. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
  10. ^ Putin: Russia promises retaliation as Senate passes sanctions bill The Guardian, 28 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Edward, Royce, (August 2, 2017). "H.R.3364 - 115th Congress (2017-2018): Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  12. ^ H.R. 3364 - Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act // SEC. 241. REPORT ON OLIGARCHS AND PARASTATAL ENTITIES OF THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION.
  13. ^ a b c Trump Signs Russian Sanctions Into Law, With Caveats The New York Times, August 2, 2017
  14. ^ a b c Statement by President Donald J. Trump on the Signing of H.R. 3364 The White House, August 2, 2017
  15. ^ Baker, Peter. "Trump Signs Russian Sanctions Into Law, With Caveats". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  16. ^ Statement by President Donald J. Trump on Signing the “Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” The White House, August 2, 2017
  17. ^ Editorial, Reuters. "Iran says new U.S. sanctions violate nuclear deal, vows..." Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  18. ^ US sanctions bid triggers a barrage of angry reaction The Pyongyang Times August 2, 2017
  19. ^ US Sanctions Racket Slammed Naenara, Korean Central News Agency August 2, 2017
  20. ^ Заявление Министерства иностранных дел Российской Федерации Russian Foreign Ministry, 28 July 2017.
  21. ^ a b Roth, Andrew (July 30, 2017). "Putin orders cut of 755 personnel at U.S. missions". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 5, 2017.
  22. ^ Russia expels US diplomats in tit-for-tat over sanctions FT, 28 July 2017.
  23. ^ Эксклюзивное интервью Владимира Путина: почему ответ России чувствителен для США Russia-24, 30 July 2017.
  24. ^ Putin confirms 755 US diplomatic staff must leave BBC, 30 July 2017.
  25. ^ "Russia's Medvedev Says U.S. Sanctions Bill Ends Hope For Better Ties". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  26. ^ Медведев: ужесточением санкций США объявили России полноценную торговую войну TASS, August 2, 2017.
  27. ^ Berlin hits back at US move to tighten sanctions on Russia FT, 15 June 2017.
  28. ^ Amt, Auswärtiges. "Auswärtiges Amt - Außenminister Gabriel und der österreichische Bundeskanzler Kern zu den Russland-Sanktionen durch den US-Senat". Retrieved October 5, 2018.
  29. ^ Europe 'stands ready to act' if US sanctions on Russia affect its oil and gas supplies The Independent, 26 July 2017.
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^ Presidential Memorandum for the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Director of National Intelligence The White House, September 29, 2017.
  34. ^ Office of the Federal Register (October 12, 2017). "Delegation of Certain Functions and Authorities under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 to the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, and the Secretary of Homeland Security" (PDF). Federal Register. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Archived from the original on October 27, 2017. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
  35. ^ Ukraine-/Russia-related Sanctions (Sectoral Sanctions under Executive Order 13662) // OFAC FAQs: Other Sanctions Programs
  36. ^ США с 28 ноября ужесточат санкции в отношении банков и нефтегазовых компаний РФ Kommersant, 29 September 2017.
  37. ^ Policy, Emily Tamkin, (c) 2017, Foreign. "Leading lawmakers wonder why Trump Is dragging feet on Russia sanctions". Retrieved 2017-10-13.
  38. ^ For some Russian oligarchs, sanctions risk makes Putin awkward to know Reuters, 30 November 2017.
  39. ^ Who’s an Oligarch? Rich Russians Fret Over U.S. Sanctions Label 4 December 2017.
  40. ^ "Trump admin declines to impose new Russia sanctions". CNN. 30 January 2018.
  41. ^ a b Минфин США: "кремлевский доклад" содержит секретное приложение в дополнение к приложениям 1 и 2 (поименные СПИСКИ), NEWSru, 30 January 2018.
  42. ^ a b Editorial, Reuters (30 January 2018). "U.S. names Kremlin outliers in 'telephone directory' sanctions report". Reuters U.K.
  43. ^ 552. Has the Treasury Department now sanctioned the individuals and entities included in its January 29, 2018 report on senior political figures, oligarchs, and parastatal entities of the Russian Federation? US Department of the Treasury.
  44. ^ "Mnuchin says new Russia-related sanctions forthcoming". The Washington Times. 30 January 2018.
  45. ^ Thompson, Leon (March 16, 2018). "U.S. sanctions Russian Federation for election meddling, hacking". The Africom. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  46. ^ Easley, Jonathan (March 15, 2018). "Trump unveils new sanctions against Russia". The Hill. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  47. ^ Treasury Sanctions Russian Cyber Actors for Interference with the 2016 U.S. Elections and Malicious Cyber-Attacks US Department of the Treasury, 15 March 2018.
  48. ^ Andrew Desiderio (18 May 2018). "Senate Democrats Call For Multi-Agency Probe Into Russia Sanctions Delay". Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  49. ^ Menendez, Warner, Brown Request Multiagency Review on Russia Sanctions Implementation 18 May 2018.
  50. ^ US sanctions Chinese military for buying Russian weapons CNN, 21 September 2018.
  51. ^ U.S. sanctions China for buying Russian fighter jets, missiles Reuters, 20 September 2018.
  52. ^ CAATSA Section 231: "Addition of 33 Entities and Individuals to the List of Specified Persons and Imposition of Sanctions on the Equipment Development Department" U.S. Department of State, September 20, 2018.
  53. ^ США ввели вторичные санкции за сделки с РФ. Это опасный прецедент для российского ОПК TASS.
  54. ^ "U.S. Names Russian Oligarchs, But Says It's Not a Sanctions List". Bloomberg. January 30, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  55. ^ "Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 241 of the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 Regarding Senior Foreign Political Figures and Oligarchs in the Russian Federation and Russian Parastatal Entities" (PDF). January 29, 2018. Retrieved January 30, 2018.

External links[]