Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference

Senate Democrats urge Trump administration to impose sanctions on Russia for election interference
© Bonnie Cash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerFixing Congress requires fixing how it legislates Beware the tea party of the left Bottom line MORE (D-N.Y.) and other senior Senate Democrats on Monday called on the Treasury and State departments to impose sanctions on Russian individuals found to be meddling in U.S. elections following reports of new interference efforts.

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Keeping the world's focus on cyber State Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks Former Treasury secretaries tried to resolve debt limit impasse in talks with McConnell, Yellen: report Menendez, Rubio ask Yellen to probe meatpacker JBS MORE, the Senate Democrats pointed to concerns about reports last week that Russian agents are already interfering in the lead-up to the 2020 U.S. elections in order to boost the campaigns of President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump defends indicted GOP congressman House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt Youngkin calls for investigation into Loudoun County School Board amid sexual assault allegations MORE and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE (I-Vt.). 

“In light of this information, we urge you to immediately and forcefully impose sanctions on the government of the Russian Federation, any Russian actors determined to be responsible for such interference, and those acting on their behalf or providing material or financial support for these election interference efforts,” Schumer and Sens. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownAmerica can end poverty among its elderly citizens Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Building back better by investing in workers and communities MORE (D-Ohio) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Senate GOP signals they'll help bail out Biden's Fed chair Democrats weigh changes to drug pricing measure to win over moderates MORE (D-N.J.) wrote. 

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Brown serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, while Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 

The senators called on Mnuchin and Pompeo to use existing statutory powers to impose sanctions on individuals including Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFBI agents swarm Russian oligarch's DC home Netanyahu told Putin he would be 'back soon' after election: report Russia records another daily record of deaths as COVID-19 continues surge MORE and other Russian government officials. 

The senators warned that “doing anything less” than imposing sanctions on those interfering in U.S. elections would be “an abdication of your responsibility to protect and defend the US from this serious threat to our national security, and to the integrity of our electoral process.”

The State and Treasury departments did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment on the letter. 

Senate Democrats have pushed hard for passage of legislation over the past years to strengthen U.S. elections against foreign interference but have been blocked by Republicans, who have cited concerns that the pieces of legislation would federalize elections, multiple times.

Election security has become a major source of concern since the 2016 elections, during which, according to U.S. intelligence agencies and the report compiled by former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE, Russian agents launched a sweeping interference effort designed to favor Trump's campaign.