Last week, President Trump announced in a cryptic tweet that he was canceling major sanctions against North Korea. This led to several hours of confusion, because the Treasury Department had just announced sanctions against two Chinese shipping companies that were accused of facilitating trade with North Korea. Canceling sanctions the day after they were announced seemed like an unprecedented step. After several hours of confusion, the administration announced that Trump had not been referring to those sanctions — but instead had canceled new, as-yet unannounced North Korea sanctions that were in the pipeline.
Today, Bloomberg News reports that this explanation may have been false. Bloomberg reporters say they have been told by five unnamed sources familiar with the matter that there were no new North Korea sanctions planned and that Trump was indeed referring to the sanctions against the two Chinese shipping companies doing business with North Korea. He was eventually persuaded to change his mind, however. According to Bloomberg, the purported explanation was no more than a “cover story” intended to conceal the erratic policy process in the White House and Trump’s eventual change of mind.
Read the full piece at The Washington Post.