WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Friday after Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on criminal charges of interfering with U.S. elections and political processes:
“Today we can finally put to rest any doubt that Russia spearheaded a years-long conspiracy to interfere in our political system. This is not a ruse, it is a direct attack on our founding principles of democracy. Special Counsel Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on criminal charges of interfering with U.S. elections and political processes is another step in bringing them to justice for their attack on the U.S. democratic system.
“This detailed indictment clearly shows Kremlin affiliates funded, led, and implemented a conspiracy to sow divisions and undermine Americans’ faith in our democracy. Russia sent individuals to gather political intelligence, spread lies through our media, and manipulate political rallies on our streets. The President has authorities, including Executive Order 13757 and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was overwhelming passed by Congress, to hold Russia accountable for its actions. In light of the intelligence agencies unified conclusion that Russia attacked our democracy, I have repeatedly called on the administration to implement sanctions again Russian interests.
“Earlier this week, Secretary Mnuchin testified before Congress that sanctions designations were coming. Just yesterday, the White House blamed the Russian government for the ‘NotPetya’ cyberattack and claimed that it will ‘be met with international consequences.’ And today a grand jury has indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities. Yet, the Trump Administration has not imposed a single sanction under CAATSA against Russia for these attacks against our democracy.
“As we prepare for our next election in 2018: what more will it take for President Trump to finally take action in defense of our democratic system? His response this afternoon, issued through the White House press secretary, is wholly predictable and deeply tragic for our country and all that we care about.”