Trump advisers urging tougher action toward Russia: report

Trump advisers urging tougher action toward Russia: report

Some top Trump administration officials have been pushing for stricter actions toward Russia in recent weeks amid escalating diplomatic tensions between the two countries, The New York Times reported Friday.

Senior officials have been actively considering additional sanctions and measures to take against Moscow, according to the report, following Russia's move this week to remove 60 American diplomats and close the U.S. consulate in St. Petersburg.

The Times reports that in the days leading up to his exit from the Trump administration, Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonAxelrod: Trump's Tillerson insults 'continue a disturbing portrait' Overnight Defense: Nauert tapped for UN envoy | Trump teases changes to Joint Chiefs of Staff | Trump knocks Tillerson as 'dumb as a rock' | Scathing report details Air Force failures before Texas shooting Trump: Tillerson 'dumb as a rock' MORE found some acceptance in the White House for adopting a tougher stance toward Russia.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFamily says Trump travel ban preventing mother from seeing dying son Saudi Arabia rejects Senate position on Khashoggi killing Five things to know about the Trump inauguration investigation MORE moved to expel 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S. this week, in solidarity with an initial move by Britain and other countries over the apparent Russian poisoning of a former double-agent on British soil earlier this month. 

Russia, which has denied responsibility for the attack, took reciprocal action against the move this week, saying the U.S. and United Kingdom had colluded to fabricate the plot as a smear against its government. 

Trump, who has remained in favor of keeping open diplomatic channels with Russia, has caught some flak from critics for remaining relatively silent on the matter this week, which has seen a daily tit for tat between Russia and the West.  

Members of the Russian Parliament have condemned Trump's move to expel Russian officials, saying it was forced by critics of Trump's recent phone call congratulating President Vladimir Putin on his victory in an election widely viewed as a sham.