Graham, Menendez crafting bill to crack down on Russia

Graham, Menendez crafting bill to crack down on Russia
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Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamWhite House staff offered discounts at Trump's NJ golf club: report Graham: DOJ official was 'unethical' in investigating Trump campaign because his wife worked for Fusion GPS Sunday shows preview: Virginia lawmakers talk Charlottesville, anniversary protests MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezDem senators introduce resolution calling on Trump to stop attacking the press Booming economy has Trump taking a well-deserved victory lap Administration should use its leverage to get Egypt to improve its human rights record MORE (D-N.J.) are working on legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia as Congress faces pressure to crack down in the wake of the Helsinki summit.

“Just as Vladimir Putin has made clear his intention to challenge American power, influence, and security interests at home and abroad, the United States must make it abundantly clear that we will defend our nation and not waver in our rejection of his effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future,” Menendez and Graham said in a joint statement referring to the Russian leader on Tuesday.

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In addition to making sure the 2017 sanctions legislation, which passed Congress overwhelmingly, is fully implemented, the forthcoming Graham-Menendez bill includes new sanctions on Russia’s debt and energy and financial sectors.

It would also target cyber actors in Russia and Russian oligarchs.

The legislation comes as senators are weighing how to respond to Moscow after President TrumpDonald John TrumpAl Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Trump claims tapes of him saying the 'n-word' don't exist Trump wanted to require staffers to get permission before writing books: report MORE refused to denounce Russian meddling in the 2016 president election during last week’s summit with Putin in Helsinki.

Sens. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerGOP leaders: No talk of inviting Russia delegation to Capitol Collins and Murkowski face recess pressure cooker on Supreme Court Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans MORE (R-Tenn.) and Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoTougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans On The Money: Trump floats steeper tariffs on China | Senate GOP battles for leverage with House on spending | Trump asked Treasury to look into capital gains tax cut | Senate clears 4B 'minibus' spending measure Obstacles mount for quick action on Russia sanctions MORE (R-Idaho) said on Tuesday that they would hold Russia sanctions hearings, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report Republican strategist: Trump is 'driven by ego' Senate GOP campaign arm asking Trump to endorse McSally in Arizona: report MORE (R-Ky.) publicly endorsed the idea last week.

In addition to the forthcoming Menendez-Graham legislation, Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioFlorida questions Senate chairman over claim that Russians have ‘penetrated’ election systems A paid leave plan cannot make you choose between kids or retirement New sanctions would hurt Russia — but hurt American industry more MORE (R-Fla.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenNew sanctions would hurt Russia — but hurt American industry more Dems ask Mnuchin to probe Russian investment in state election tech Tougher Russia sanctions face skepticism from Senate Republicans MORE (D-Md.) have a bill that would slap sanctions on Russia if the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) determined the Kremlin meddled in future elections.

But Graham told reporters that he wanted legislation that would automatically slap new sanctions on Russia.

"Yes, I would even go further. I'm going to introduce legislation that imposes sanctions and they can be waived only if there's a certification by the DNI and others that they've stopped. ...I want to go ahead and assume they're doing it because they are,” he told reporters last week.

In addition to new sanctions, the Graham-Menendez bill would require Senate approval for the United States withdrawing from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, establish the National Center to Respond to Russian Threats and authorize assistance for fighting Russian interference in Eastern Europe.