March 23, 2018

Menendez, Colleagues Formally Request President Trump Provide Congress a Report on Salisbury Nerve Agent Attack

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and five Ranking Members of key Senate committees on national security in sending a letter to President Donald Trump formally requesting the Administration provide a comprehensive analysis to Congress on whether a foreign government used chemical or biological weapons in the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the United Kingdom. The Senators’ letter calls for the imposition of sanctions if, as the UK government has concluded, the United States determines Russia was behind the chemical weapons attack in Salisbury.” 

Joining Menendez and Durbin were Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ranking Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee; Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee; Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Mark Warner (D-Va.); Vice Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

The full text of the letter to President Trump can be found here and below:

Dear President Trump:

We write to express our serious concerns regarding the attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia, in Salisbury, United Kingdom. 

In the aftermath of their poisoning, UK officials identified the chemical agent used in the attack as Novichok, a highly lethal military grade nerve agent the Russian government is known to have developed.    

British Prime Minister Theresa May, in a speech to Parliament, said the UK government had concluded it was highly likely the Russian government was responsible for the attack in Salisbury.  The UK government based this assessment on Russia’s known chemical weapons capabilities and the Kremlin’s record of conducting state sponsored assassinations – including against former intelligence officers.   The United States, in a joint statement with the United Kingdom and other allies, said it shared the UK assessment that the Russian government was responsible for the attack and noted that Russia´s failure to address the legitimate request by the UK government further indicates its responsibility.

We formally request a determination of whether a foreign government has used lethal chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law and a report to Congress analyzing the attack.  Given the use of such a dangerous nerve agent, as well as the origins of the substance, we believe a comprehensive analysis of this chemical attack is vital to uncovering the perpetrators and, if necessary, you should impose sanctions on the individuals and entities involved.

Moving forward, it is critical that we continue to stand by our indispensable ally and partner in the United Kingdom and take the necessary steps to confront Russian complicity in these heinous acts.  We appreciate your prompt attention to this request.

###

Press Contact

Juan Pachon, 202.224.4130