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Collins: WH decision to not implement Russian sanctions ‘perplexing’

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOn The Money: Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief | Relief bill tests narrow Democratic majority | Senate confirms Biden's picks for Commerce, top WH economist Tanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Senate Democrats negotiating changes to coronavirus bill MORE (R-Maine) on Tuesday said it’s “perplexing” that the Trump administration opted to not implement additional sanctions on Russia for meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"The one thing we know for sure already is the Russians did attempt to meddle in our election. And not only should there be a price to pay in terms of sanctions, but also we need to put safeguards in place right now for the elections for this year,” Collins said on CNN’s “New Day.”

The Senate passed a bill last year by a vote of 98-2 approving increased sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s interference in the 2016 election. The bill also passed by a wide margin in the House.

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The Trump administration told Congress on Monday that the legislation itself serves as enough of a deterrent and, as a result, the actual sanctions would not be implemented.

Collins said the legislation was “not partisan in the least,” and added that Russia will likely attempt to undermine this year’s midterm elections. 

“We know the Russians have not given up on their disinformation campaign and their attempt to sow discord in this country, and also to undermine faith in democratic institutions,” Collins said.

Multiple congressional committees are conducting investigations into the scope and methods of Russian interference in the 2016 election. 

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE is leading a criminal probe into Russian interference, including possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign, which has thus far led to two guilty pleas and two indictments. 

President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE has railed against the special counsel investigation repeatedly, calling it a “hoax” and a “witch hunt.” He reportedly sought to fire Mueller last year, but was stopped.