BREAKING NEWS Out Of WASHINGTON D.C.

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Dean James AMERICA’S FREEDOM FIGHTERS

U.S. officials have seized three Russian diplomatic posts in San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C. Saturday after the Trump administration ordered the occupants to leave within 48 hours, Fox News reports.

U.S. officials and Russian Embassy personnel conducted joint walk-throughs of the three buildings before they were formally turned over to the Americans, a senior State Department official said.

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“Today, Russian Embassy personnel, together with State Department officials, walked through three properties in San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C. that the Russian government is required to close,” the senior State Department official said.

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“These inspections were carried out to secure and protect the facilities and to confirm the Russian government had vacated the premises,” the official said. “The United States is fully adhering to the Vienna Convention, U.S. law, and bilateral agreements in these actions as well as in its demands for Russia to draw down those diplomatic properties. The Department of State can confirm that the Russian government complied with the order to vacate its Consulate and two annexes.

The Kremlin claims that American officials threatened to “break down the entrance door” to one of the facilities, and that the FBI was “clearing the premises.”

The official said that “accusations made by the Russian government, including that U.S. officials threatened to break down doors in the relevant properties or that the FBI is clearing the premises, are untrue.”

The U.S. took these actions in retaliation for Moscow’s decision last month to force the U.S. to cut its diplomatic personnel in Russia to 455.

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Russia is pissed off by the order to evacuate its consulate in San Francisco and trade offices in Washington and New York.

Moscow has accused the U.S. of violating international law by shuttering the facilities, a charge the U.S. disputes.

There was no additional comment from the U.S. about whether the FBI was involved in the inspections. The State Department declined to answer additional questions about whether the premises might be searched for intelligence-gathering purposes now that the Russians have left.

Yesterday, black smoke was seen pouring from a chimney at the Russian consulate in San Francisco as workers were frantically hauling boxes out of the Consulate-General of Russia building in a historic area of the city Friday, a day after the Trump administration ordered its closure amid escalating tensions between the United States and Russia.

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Fox reports that the U.S. did appear to bow to one Russian complaint — that they were given a mere 48 hours to vacate homes used by diplomats and their families. Softening the original order, the U.S. said it had made “separate arrangements” to give families “sufficient time” to pack their belongings and vacate apartments on the consulate grounds.

In the meantime, the State Department will control all access to the properties, along with the responsibility for securing and maintaining them, the official said.

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