President Donald Trump — criticized by many Democrats for his allegedly close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin — is expected to announce a new round of sanctions against Russia on Friday.
This week’s actions will include sanctions against Russian oligarchs, including some with ties to Putin as well as to the Russian government, two U.S. officials familiar with the situation told Reuters.
The sanctions will be imposed over various grievances, including Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.
U.S. expected to hit Russia with more sanctions related to election meddling. https://t.co/1ZHHMkPF8g
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) April 5, 2018
The Washing Post cited administration officials as saying the Treasury Department would implement the sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which was passed by Congress last year and signed into law by Trump.
The law aims to punish Russia for interfering in the U.S. election as well as “actions intended to subvert democracy in Europe,” The Post reported.
Sources told Reuters the sanctions would be “potentially the most aggressive move” the U.S. has undertaken against Russian business people.
On Tuesday night, outgoing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster called on the United States to take a tougher line against Moscow, saying, “We have failed to impose sufficient costs.”
That followed a comment earlier in the day by Trump, who said, “Nobody has been tougher on Russia than I have.”
The administration expelled dozens of Russian diplomats last month and shut down two Russian consulates in response to objectionable behavior by Russia, including interference in the elections, its role in a massive cyberattack against Ukraine and other countries last year, and the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain that was allegedly carried out by Russia.
“While sanctions are by no means the end-all-be-all to the Putin regime, such a crescendo of counter-measures—if rigorously enforced and unwaveringly sustained—would send a clear message to Putin and his cronies: Russia’s misconduct will no longer be tolerated.” https://t.co/WVK66qgVTS
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) April 5, 2018
Moscow’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, was not happy with news of additional sanctions, saying the “atmosphere in Washington is poison.”
“It’s a toxic atmosphere,” he said in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show.
The United States could also impose sanctions based on powers granted by Congress to target anyone conducting significant business with Russian intelligence and defense sectors.
“If they do something tough like this, it may go some distance in reassuring angry members of Congress and the public who are looking at the midterms and wondering if this administration is focused on the Russian threat and taking moves to address it,” Liz Rosenberg, a former Treasury official, told The Post.
In early March, the administration also slapped fresh sanctions on Russian government hackers and spy agencies for interfering in the 2016 election and the cyberattack.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in U.S. elections, destructive cyberattacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”
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