Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 2/14/2017, #12 First off, last night, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control -- OFAC -- labeled the Venezuelan Vice President as a specially designated narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act.
PoliticalNews.me - Feb 15,2017 - Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sean Spicer, 2/14/2017, #12
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:15 P.M. EST
MR. SPICER: Good afternoon. Happy Valentine's Day. I can sense the love in the room. (Laughter.)
First off, last night, the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control -- OFAC -- labeled the Venezuelan Vice President as a specially designated narcotics trafficker under the Kingpin Act.
Before I continue with the briefing and look forward to your questions, I want to turn it over for a short time to newly minted Secretary of the Treasury, Steven Mnuchin, to issue a brief statement on this and deliver a few questions.
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Pleasure to be here on my first busy day in office. Yesterday, the Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control, known as OFAC, designated Venezuelan national Tareck El Aissami as a specially designated narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act for playing a significant role in international narcotics trafficking. El Aissami's primary frontman, Venezuelan national Samark Lopez Bellow was also designated.
These designations follow a multi-year investigation into El Aissami's criminal activities. And President Trump appreciates the hard work put into this case by the Department of Treasury, the Department of State, as well as the National Security Council and many people throughout law enforcement.
Following the signing of the executive order last week designing to break the back of criminal drug cartels, this action demonstrates the President's seriousness about fighting the scourge of drugs in the United States. In addition, he wants to send a clear message to the people of Venezuela that America stands with them.
And with that, I'm happy to take two or three questions specifically about this.
Q Secretary Mnuchin, since sanctions are directly relevant, obviously, to the Treasury Department, which is an agency that you now oversee, can you talk a little bit about plans to sanction Russia and if you'll keep Obama-era sanctions against Russia?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Our current sanctions programs are in place, and I would say sanctions are an important tool that we will continue to look at for various different countries. But it's a very important program within the Treasury Department.
Q And for Russia specifically?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: The existing policies are in place.
Q Mr. Secretary, are you contemplating any additional sanctions against Iran? And can you tell us what you think the bottom line will be at these particular sanctions you announced yesterday and are referring to today with the Venezuelan Vice President? What's it going to mean?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Well, first, let me just comment -- again, this is as a result of a very long effort --
Q Did you (inaudible) the implication, by the way?
SECRETARY MNUCHIN: Yes, this was underway. This was a very long effort. But the implication is quite significant. We expect that there will be frozen tens of millions of dollars and, again, that sanctions are a very important