GOP senator: Trump needs to ‘apply pain’ to Russia

GOP senator: Trump needs to ‘apply pain’ to Russia

Sen. James LankfordJames Paul LankfordEthics experts ask Senate to investigate Graham's probe of mail-in voting The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer unveils detailed analysis of COVID-19 vaccine & next steps GOP senators congratulate Harris on Senate floor MORE (R-Okla.) is calling on President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE to "apply pain" to punish Russia for its efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election.

Lankford, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Moscow's role in the election, told ABC News's "Powerhouse Politics" podcast that he was pleased to hear the president acknowledge on Thursday that Russia had interfered in the election.

But Washington, he said, must "continue to apply pressure" to deter future meddling attempts by the Kremlin.


"I'm so glad to hear him step out and to be able to say that, but it's also important that we continue to apply pressure," Lankford said. "Once you know they're trying to interfere in our election system, what do you do? How do you apply pain?"

"So my issue now is: What is the clear pain that Russia will experience based on their actions?" he added. "Because I don't think they change the behavior until they actually have experienced some sort of pain."

Lankford proposed a two-tiered response to the meddling efforts, consisting of continued sanctions against Russia and the development of a "cyber doctrine" — a formal plan for responding to cyberattacks.

“It's something we worked with the Obama administration for years on,” he said. “To have a clear policy that can be put out, that if any nation, whether it's North Korea, Iran, China, Russia, whoever it may be — if they try to interfere in any of our infrastructure, or our systems through a cyberattack, we have a structured response that they know: ‘If you do this, then this is how we respond.’ "

Lankford's comments came as Trump prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinScarborough says he'll never return to Republican Party after GOP supported Trump Will Biden choose a values-based or transactional foreign policy? Russian vessel threatens to ram US warship in disputed waters in Sea of Japan MORE on Friday during the annual Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.

It isn't yet clear if Trump will bring up Russia's interference in the election with Putin during the highly anticipated meeting.