US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaves after a briefing at the Department of State August 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acknowledged Tuesday that North Korea has shown a "level of restraint" in not conducting nuclear or missile tests since new UN sanctions were imposed. And he expressed the hope that it was a sign of Pyongyang's readiness to enter peace and disarmament talks with Washington "sometime in the near future." / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

The State Department shuttered an office that oversees sanctions policy, even as the Donald Trump administration faced criticism from lawmakers over its handling of new economic penalties against Russia.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson eliminated the Coordinator for Sanctions Policy office, which had been led by a veteran ambassador-rank diplomat with at least five staff, as part of an overhaul of the department, former diplomats and congressional sources told Foreign Policy.
Instead, the role of coordinating U.S. sanctions across the State Department and other government agencies now falls to just one mid-level official — David Tessler, the deputy director of the Policy Planning Office. The Policy Planning Office, which previously operated as a small team providing strategic advice to the secretary but did not manage programs or initiatives, has grown in power under Tillerson’s “redesign” of the department.
While the sanctions office was dissolved, the administration missed a key Oct. 1 deadline …
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