U.S. orders Russian Federation to close consulate but seeks 'to improve relations'

She added that the USA hoped both countries could now move towards "improved relations" and "increased cooperation".

"I did not ask or brief Mr. Trump, or any of his family, before I made the decision to terminate further work on the proposal", Cohen said. Beyond being just a real estate broker, he is said to have ties with the Russian government. The conspiracy talks about real estate deals that are questionable, information about how Russian hackers got into the Democratic servers where they revealed important information about Hillary Clinton and how Donald Trump spent many evenings with prostitutes.

"We believe this action was unwarranted and detrimental to the overall relationship between our countries", she said, noting that with action against Russian diplomatic facilities "both countries will remain with three consulates each".

Passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives, the new legislation partially stripped Trump of his presidential authority to formulate a foreign policy vis-a-vis Russian Federation, by limiting his ability to ease sanctions without the approval from Congress.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin denied interfering in the election and strongly protested Obama's move.

"... Another unfriendly step of the USA authorities, which, first of all, will hit hard on Russian citizens residing in the consular district, as well as on American citizens".

While many of 755 U.S. staffers had to expelled and return to the State Department, Washington is not asking to expel Russian staffers at the consulate and the annexes that were closed. During meetings in the Philippines shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson left open the possibility the USA, in turn, would retaliate for that move, and promised Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a formal response by September 1.

Other sanctions followed from the Treasury Department throughout 2014, targeting the Russian financial services, energy and defense sectors, among other areas. The official also did not say whether the Russian missions employ any Americans.

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The Russian declaration had been a retaliation, in its own right, for the "insolence" demonstrated by new sanctions overwhelmingly passed by US lawmakers.

Following allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election, President Barack Obama in December ordered the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats and the closure of two Russian diplomatic recreational retreats. Russians would no longer be able to apply for visas at USA consulates in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Vladivostok.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Thursday released the following statement regarding steps taken by the Trump administration to regain parity in the diplomatic relationship by forcing the Russian government to close its consulate in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, D.C., and a consular annex in New York City.

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