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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDemocratic leaders say Trump testing strategy is 'to deny the truth' about lack of supplies Trump slams Sessions: 'You had no courage & ruined many lives' Senate Democrats call on Trump administration to let Planned Parenthood centers keep PPP loans 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOpen Skies withdrawal throws nuclear treaty into question Former British governor: China has betrayed Hong Kong The other dangerous virus infecting our country MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFive questions about the next COVID-19 relief package Senate Republicans call on DOJ to investigate Planned Parenthood loans The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Surgeon General stresses need to invest much more in public health infrastructure, during and after COVID-19; Fauci hopeful vaccine could be deployed in December 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 John TrumpTrump anti-reg push likely to end up in court Biden set to make risky economic argument against Trump Hillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel MORE and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden 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 BrownSenators offer bill to prevent relief payments from being seized by private debt collectors Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Rollout of new anti-redlining rules sparks confusion in banking industry MORE (D-Ohio) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenate panel approves Trump nominee under investigation Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal Senate chairman schedules vote on Trump nominee under investigation 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 PutinAmerica's post-COVID-19 foreign policy House Democrats object to Trump sending ventilators to Russia Overnight Defense: Trump to withdraw US from Open Skies Treaty | Pentagon drops ban on recruits who had virus | FBI says Corpus Christi shooting terror-related 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) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE, Russian agents launched a sweeping interference effort designed to favor Trump's campaign.