Asked by the journalist why not implement the sanctions that Congress overwhelmingly says they wanna see put on Russia, Tillerson said: "We have and we are we've taken steps that have already prevented a number of Russian military sales as a result of the legislation. And we are evaluating additional individuals for-- for-- possible sanctioning."
As reported, the list of 114 Russian politicians and 96 "oligarchs" who have flourished during the reign of President Vladimir Putin fulfilling a demand by Congress that the U.S. punish Moscow for interfering in the 2016 U.S. election was released late Jan. 29.
The list was made public along with the Trump administration's surprising announcement that it had decided not to punish anybody - for now - under new sanctions retaliating for the election-meddling. Some U.S. lawmakers accused President Trump of giving Russia a free pass, fueling further questions about whether the president is unwilling to confront America's Cold War foe.
Known informally as the "Putin list," the seven-page unclassified document is a who's who of politically connected Russians in the country's elite class. The idea, as envisioned by Congress, is to name-and-shame those believed to be benefiting from Putin's tenure just as the United States works to isolate his government diplomatically and economically.
Being on the list doesn't trigger any U.S. sanctions on the individuals, although more than a dozen are already targeted under earlier sanctions.
Late July 2017, the U.S. Senate passed the new sanctions bill against Russia overwhelmingly and sent it to Trump for signature. Russia in response restricted U.S. diplomatic missions' access to several facilities and demanded to shorten the staff of the mission by 755 people by Sept. 1.
Trump signed the new bill on Russia sanctions into law on Aug. 2, but in a signing statement, he said he sees serious flaws in this document, although signs it for the sake of the national unity.