Rex Tillerson, when he was secretary of state, ordered State Department officials to assemble a case declaring Russia to be a state sponsor of terrorism under U.S. law, then he backed away from the idea within about two days, Pro Publica reported Monday.
Tillerson gave the order after an ex-Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned on British soil with a military-grade nerve agent, which Western officials have blamed on Russia.
“There are a lot of issues that we have to work on together with Russia. Designating them would interfere with our ability to do that,” a U.S. official told Pro Publica.
“Russia is clearly a bad actor on the world stage. But terrorism is an area where we have to keep trying to talk to them. They can either play a negative role or not play a negative role—or occasionally play a positive role,” said David McKean, a former State Department director of policy planning, Pro Publica’s report said.
Moscow had denied that Russia was behind the poisoning. The U.S., along with dozens of other countries, expelled Russian diplomats as retaliation for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, the former spy, and his daughter. Doctor said Friday that Skripal had been discharged from a UK hospital.
Daughter Yulia recovered more quickly and was discharged from the hospital in April, the report said.
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