McCain, Cardin scold Trump for missing Russian sanctions deadline

McCain, Cardin scold Trump for missing Russian sanctions deadline
© Greg Nash

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainHow House Republicans scrambled the Russia probe The Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by CVS Health - A pivotal day for House Republicans on immigration MORE (R-Ariz.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinKim Jong Un surprises with savvy power plays Overnight Energy: EPA moves to roll back chemical plant safety rule | NASA chief says humans contribute to climate change | Pruitt gets outside lawyer House lawmakers to unveil water resources bill on Friday MORE (D-Md.) slammed the Trump administration on Wednesday for missing a deadline in implementing sanctions against Russia. 

“The delay calls into question the Trump administration’s commitment to the sanctions bill which was signed into law more than two months ago, following months of public debate and negotiations in Congress. They’ve had plenty of time to get their act together," the pair said in a joint statement on Wednesday. 

By Oct. 1, the McCain and Cardin-penned sanctions bill required the administration clarify which targets would be identified and punished as part of Russia's defense and intelligence sectors. The administration has not yet done so. 

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The bill had been intended to force President Trump into punishing Russia for its tampering in the 2016 presidential election, with legislators fearing that the president would be overly lenient.

McCain and Cardin sent a letter to Trump reminding him of the deadline on Sept. 29.

Also on Sept. 29, Trump issued a memorandum delegating most of the responsibilities of making the decisions outlined in the bill to members of the Cabinet. Trump passed the authority to determine who counted as military or intelligence to Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonTrump nominates Pacific Command head as ambassador to South Korea Trump’s offer could be just what Pyongyang was seeking BUILD Act must build in US values for global development projects MORE

According to their Wednesday statement, the duo believes the administration has been slow to implement at least one other step in the Russian response. 

“There does not appear to be a significant diplomatic effort to engage our allies in Europe and lead an effort to increase pressure on Moscow. Congressional intent was clear, reflected in the overwhelming bipartisan majority in favor of the legislation," they said.