Calls on Trump Administration to develop an “all of government initiative to counter Russian government interference in democratic politics at home and abroad.”
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned five entities and 19 individuals under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). Co-authored by Menendez, CAATSA was overwhelmingly approved by Congress last summer and mandates the President to hold Russia, Iran and North Korea accountable for their destabilizing activities around the world.
“Today’s Treasury Department sanction designations are a long overdue response to Russian government interference in the 2016 election, and I am glad to see this Administration finally heeded our call to use some of the new tools Congress has mandated over the past year. However, the previous Administration had already sanctioned many of these individuals and entities. The Russian government continues to aggressively attack democratic institutions and incite destabilizing behavior; its brazen chemical weapons strike on British soil is the latest example of what will happen if there are no serious consequences for the Kremlin’s actions. I expect to see additional sanctions in short order against specific Russian entities responsible for undermining our democracy, including those like Glavset which was recently indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The longer we wait, we know the Russian government will continue to shift resources to other propaganda factories that spew disinformation and lies. I look forward to a full briefing from the administration on its next set of targets.
“Separate from today’s sanctions designations, the administration has not implemented six other mandatory provisions of the law. I strongly urge the immediate imposition of these mandatory sanctions under sections 225, 226, 228, 231, 233, and 234.
“These sanctions measures must only be the beginning of a comprehensive effort to counter Russian malign influence and activity in all its forms. Alongside these new sanctions, we need a coordinated, whole of government initiative to counter hybrid Russian government interference and aggression at home and abroad. Imposing sanctions sends an important signal, but should not be confused with a comprehensive strategy to defend our democratic institutions and those of our allies.”