U.S. President Donald Trump earlier this year offered to sell the two diplomatic compounds that the United States seized from Russia in 2016 outside of Washington D.C. and New York.
The compounds, known as “dachas” — or country houses — were seized under then-U.S. President Barack Obama in December last year as a response to Russia’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. At the time, Moscow did not retaliate in anticipation of warmer relations with the incoming President Trump.
Following reports that the Trump administration was considering handing Moscow back the dachas, the FBI organized an “elaborate briefing” for the U.S. president to make the “case that Russia had used the facilities to steal U.S. secrets,” The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
According to officials present at the briefing, Trump seemed convinced, The Post reported.
“Should we sell this off and keep the money?” the president was cited as asking during the meeting.
At the end of July, U.S. Congress “imposed specific conditions for the return of the dachas,” a State Department spokesperson was cited by The Post as saying in a statement, “and the Russians have so far not been willing to meet them.”
In August, the former Russian ambassador to the United States Sergei Kislyak was resolute over the issue during an appearance on state television.
“We will never give up our rights to those dachas,” he said.