McCain, Cardin scold Trump for missing Russian sanctions deadline

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

Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump stokes new unlikely feud Meghan McCain: Living without father like 'some awful parallel universe' Leon Panetta’s nightmare is today's national security crisis MORE (R-Ariz.) and Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinPro-Israel organizations should finally seek payback against Iran deal Dems Cardin wins reelection in Maryland Election Day: An hour-by-hour viewer’s guide 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 TillersonWhite House ousts Sessions Trump downplays potential turnover: 'Everybody wants to work in this White House' Trump says Cabinet changes likely after midterms 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.