"We are requiring the Russian Government to close its Consulate General in San Francisco, a chancery annex in Washington, DC and a consular annex in New York City", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Thursday. Lawyers for Trump have said the president's tax returns showed few dealings with Russian Federation, although Trump has refused to release his tax returns.
But instead of lashing out at Russia's aggressive diplomatic move, Trump actually praised Putin for kicking out U.S. diplomats, claiming Putin was actually doing the United States a favor.
Consulate officials, in response, described the move as an "unfriendly" step on the part of American authorities and warned that it will hurt both Russian citizens living in the area and Americans seeking tourist visas to Russia.
Repeatedly throughout the visit, he has called for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of global diplomacy but now under threat.
Earlier this month, President Trump was asked about Putin's retaliation.
Cohen has increasingly come under investigators' spotlight, particularly after recently disclosing emails he received from Felix Sater, a business associate of Trump, in 2015. They said the move was in reaction to a Russian demand that the USA sharply reduce the size of its diplomatic workforce in Russia.
Michael Cohen, President Trump's long-time attorney and cable television attack dog, hit back at allegations linking him to a Russian effort to tip last November's election, releasing a point-by-point response to the accusations leveled against him.
The exchange of diplomatic volleys did not begin with Russian President Vladimir Putin's announcement at the end of July, however.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that his country would react with firmness to the US order.
The closing of the Russian diplomatic posts is an act of "impudence" which Moscow should retaliate for, said Andrei Klimov, the deputy head of the foreign affairs committee of the upper house of parliament, according to state news service RIA Novosti.
December 30, 2016: Surprisingly, Russian President Vladimir Putin chooses not to retaliate against the United States - hoping to wait and see what direction then-President-elect Donald Trump will take.
Now, more than half a year into Trump's term, the State Department says relations between the two countries are in a "downward spiral" - but adds that, in the interest of arresting that slide, it will not be pursuing true parity in diplomatic sites. "The steps taken today by President Trump and his administration are wholly appropriate, and I am pleased the administration has signaled that it is prepared to take further action if necessary". Ushakov told Russian news agencies that the government "regrets" the latest USA move and needs to "think carefully about how we could respond". He told Tillerson that Moscow would "closely study" the new U.S. measures and would inform Washington of its reaction in due course.