"January 29th ... was not a deadline to impose new sanctions on Russia. It was the first day under which we had the authority under CAATSA to impose sanctions if we made the determination that some sanctionable activity had taken place. There is currently no end date to that authority.
"Now, you all know we do not forecast sanctions because that lets those entities know that we are going to sanction them, and that can cause them to change their behavior, flee the country, things of that sort. There is no end date to this authority. The fact that we did not impose sanctions on the very first day that we had authority should by no means be interpreted as evidence that we will not impose sanctions in the future," Nauert said.
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.