U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said on Sunday that Washington was preparing new sanctions on Russia over its support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"The ambassador got out ahead of things this time," the senior administration official, who deals with the issue, told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The Washington Post first reported that Trump had put a stop to a plan for additional economic sanctions on Russia.
The official said Trump was concerned that immediately imposing more sanctions, on the heels of last weekend's U.S.-led strike against Russian-backed Assad, would interfere with his efforts to negotiate agreements with Russian President Vladimir Putin on combating Islamic extremism, policing the internet and other issues.
The United States has taken a series of recent measures against Russia, including expelling diplomats over a poisoning case in Britain and imposing sanctions against 24 Russians, including Putin allies, over interference in the U.S. presidential election and other "malign activity."
Moscow has denied any wrongdoing.