The hearing came following a move by the Trump White House to push through a change to Russian sanctions in the final days of the lame-duck Republican Congress. Democrats were shocked, even as information was appearing on Paul Manafort meeting with Deripaska’s representatives during the 2016 campaign, and how Manafort was pressured into actions by debt he owed one of Putin’s inner circle. Rather than explain these actions, Pelosi said, Mnuchin spent his appearance “wasting the time” of members of Congress with off-topic readings and non-answers.
Nancy Pelosi: One of the worst classified briefings we've received from the Trump administration. The secretary barely testified.
For his part, Mnuchin said he was “somewhat shocked” that Pelosi wasn’t pleased with his appearance, saying that he “answered half of the questions posed by members.” Half of the questions is apparently what Mnuchin considers a full day of work.
With the deadline for the removal of sanctions drawing near, Democrats have asked Trump to delay taking this action—but there has been no commitment from Mnuchin, or Trump, that they won’t open the taps for Deripaska’s companies.