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Nikki Haley responds to White House claims: "I don't get confused"

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley pushed back against a White House official's claim that she experienced "momentary confusion" over the future of additional Russia sanctions in response to Russia's failure to rid Syria of chemical weapons.

On CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday, Haley said the U.S. was preparing additional Russia sanctions that would be announced Monday. But President Trump held off on the White House's plan for new sanctions against top Russian companies tied to Syria's alleged chemical weapons program. 

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insisted more sanctions were merely under consideration. On Tuesday, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Haley "got ahead of the curve."

"She's done a great job," Kudlow said of Haley. "She's a very effective ambassador. There might have been some momentary confusion about that. But if you talk to Steve Mnuchin at Treasury and so forth, he will tell you the same thing. They're in charge of this. We have had sanctions. Additional sanctions are under consideration but not implemented, and that's all."

Haley, speaking for the first time since the White House dialed back her claims, rejected the idea that she was confused.

"With all due respect, I don't get confused," Haley said in a statement read by Fox News' Dana Perino and confirmed by CBS News Tuesday. 

Haley has taken a hard line against Russia, calling out the Russian government for what she has called its "unilateral responsibility" for using chemical weapons in Syria. The U.S. carried out strikes against Syria at 4 a.m. Saturday local time, in response to last week's alleged chemical weapons attack that the U.S. blames on Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime. 

"The Russian Federation has asked us to discuss what it calls 'unilateral threats' related to Syria," Haley said at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday. "What is strange is that Russia is ignoring the real threat to international peace and security that has brought us here. And it is ignoring its own unilateral responsibility for it. What we should discuss today is the use of deadly chemical weapons to murder innocent Syrian civilians."

— CBS News' Kylie Atwood and Kathryn Watson contributed to this report. 


  • Kathryn Watson

    Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.