Last December, former President Barack Obama gave Russia 24 hours to vacate diplomatic compounds in New York and Maryland and expelled 35 Russians he called "intelligence operatives" as punishment for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The Trump administration is now moving to return those compounds to Russia, The Washington Post reports. Russia says it used the facilities, which had diplomatic immunity, to hold events, but for decades the U.S. has believed the compounds are also used for spying. Last month, the Trump administration reportedly told Russia it would consider turning the properties back over if Russia agreed to lift a freeze on the construction of a new U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg. A few days later, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak the U.S. no longer was linking the compounds and the consulate.
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