Clinton knocks Trump for failing to implement Russian sanctions
Posted November 2, 2017 6:53 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Hillary Clinton criticized President Donald Trump on Thursday for failing to implement Russian sanctions that Congress passed earlier this year, arguing at a Democratic women's event that the President is shirking America's responsibility.
Clinton, in an on-camera conversation with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, also faulted the Trump administration's policy on contraception, arguing that restricting women's rights to abortion and contraception is saying "women have no right to control their own reproductive capacity."
Congress reached a deal earlier this year to slap fresh sanctions on Russia and restrict the President's veto power to block any easing of those sanctions. The agreement headed to Trump's desk, where the sanctions have yet to be implemented.
The State Department -- 25 days after guidance on the sanctions were due -- issued direction on which Russian individuals and entities will be subject to sanctions under the newly passed legislation. The lack of guidance had drawn bipartisan scorn.
"He hasn't implemented it. So what is the lesson from that?" Clinton said at an event in Washington. "The lesson is you can get away with attacking America, sowing discord and divisiveness, effecting our election and this President and administration are not going to hold you accountable."
The sanctions are now set to be fully implemented in January.
Clinton's animosity toward Russia dates back years and was further heightened in 2016, when the country meddled in the US election to help Donald Trump and hurt her candidacy. Clinton, in books and speeches, has traced Russian President Vladimir Putin's animus toward her to her decision to speak out against Russia's elections in 2011.
Clinton defended that decision Thursday and subtly knocked Rex Tillerson, Trump's secretary of state, in the process.
"I was the secretary of state and part of my job was to stand up for democracy, something we used to expect from our secretary of state," she said.
One topic not addressed during the wide-ranging conversation: Allegations leveled by former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile. In newly released book excerpts, Brazile allege that the Democratic National Committee was controlled by her 2016 campaign long before she was the party's nominee, an accusation long lobbed by supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's 2016 opponent.
Instead of focusing intra-party fighting -- Feinstein never asked about the excerpts -- Clinton lobbed most of her attacks at Trump.
Clinton slammed Trump's decision to allow employers more leeway for covering birth control through employee insurance plans. Clinton said restricting women's access to contraception -- not just abortion -- is saying "women have no right to control their own reproductive capacity."
"That is what is so troubling to me, Dianne, because that is in line with regimes and ideologies around the world that really do want to limit women's autonomy and being able to make decisions for ourselves," Clinton added.