Russia bans Biden, but not Trump, from list of Americans banned from travel

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin arrive for a joint press conference after their meeting in Helsinki, July 16, 2018.

Grigory Dukor | Reuters

President Joe Biden has been on Russia’s “blacklist”, but former President Donald Trump has not.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Saturday released an updated list of nearly 1,000 Americans permanently barred from entering the country, a largely symbolic slap in response to tough sanctions imposed by Western countries for their brutal invasion of Ukraine in February.

Biden since mid-March had already been banned from visiting Russia, as were Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But the updated list now includes Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as Biden’s scandal-plagued son Hunter Biden, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Hillary Clinton, former secretary of state and first lady.

Actor Morgan Freeman and billionaire investor George Soros are also on the list. Soros’ philanthropic support of liberal causes and groups in the former Soviet bloc made him a bogeyman for Russia and right-wing conspiracy theorists.

Jen Psaki, who until this month was Biden’s press secretary at the White House, posted a sarcastic tweet about the list Saturday night: “Guess we’ll have to cancel our family trip to Moscow in August…”

Trump was not on the list of 963 banned Americans.

Over the years, Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and criticized investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which ended in Trump’s victory over Democratic rival Clinton.

Trump was impeached in 2019 for withholding congressionally appropriate military aid to Ukraine while pressuring the country’s newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, to announce investigations into Joe Biden, who at the time was the top Democratic candidate for the White House.

Trump was acquitted after trial in the Senate.

On Saturday morning, in an interview with Fox News, Trump again complained about the Russia investigation.

“This is one of the biggest political scandals in history,” Trump said. “Where do I get my reputation?”

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment about his omission from Russia’s travel ban list.

Former President Barack Obama and Trump Vice President Mike Pence are also not on the list, but Pence’s brother, Representative Greg Pence, R-Ind., is banned.

As did 211 of Greg Pence’s fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives and the Senate — along with 224 Democratic members from both houses of Congress.

GOP House members on the banned list included two Republican Trump supporters, Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona.

Also on the list are two House Democrats whose strongly progressive political positions are anathema to Trump World: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Representative Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

So did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who this week was also banned from receiving communion by the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco because of her support for abortion rights.

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In a statement published by Russian state news agency RIA, the Foreign Ministry said that “Russian counter-sanctions are of a forced nature and aim to force the US regime to change its behavior” and recognize “new geopolitical realities”.

The ministry also accused the US of trying to impose a neocolonial “rules-based world order” on the rest of the world.

The ministry said “hostile actions” taken by the US government “boomerang back to the United States itself” and “will continue to receive the appropriate rejections”.

Russia has also banned hundreds of Canadians from entering the country, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, as well as hundreds of members of the UK Parliament.

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