Senators ask Treasury to sanction alleged Russian hackers indicted by Mueller

Senators ask Treasury to sanction alleged Russian hackers indicted by Mueller
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A bipartisan pair of senators on Tuesday asked the Treasury Department to impose financial sanctions on the 12 Russian intelligence officers indicted by special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE last week for allegedly hacking the emails of top Democratic Party officials.

In a Tuesday letter, Sens. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyNSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns MORE (R-Pa.) and Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenPelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes House Foreign Affairs leaders introduce Turkey sanctions bill MORE (D-Md.) asked Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever The Hill's Morning Report - Trump grapples with Turkey controversy MORE to target the alleged cyber-criminals under sanctions enacted by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocratic senator rips Trump's 'let them fight' remarks: 'Enough is enough' Warren warns Facebook may help reelect Trump 'and profit off of it' Trump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' MORE through executive orders and legislation he signed.

The Justice Department charged 11 members of Russia’s military intelligence wing (GRU) on July 13 with conspiring to illegally access and distribute the emails of Democratic Party leaders, candidates and political committees. Another was charged was attempting to infiltrate systems used to conduct state elections.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he will not surrender the 12 indicted Russian officers to the United States for prosecution.

Toomey and Van Hollen asked Mnuchin to exercise his “legal authority necessary to impose sanctions on individuals who engage in cyber activities intended to interfere in America’s elections.”

Trump in August 2017 signed a package of new financial sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. The Treasury Department also targeted five entities and 19 individuals from Russia with sanctions on March 15 for their efforts to disrupt and manipulate the 2016 election. Those sanctions were issued under an executive order signed by Trump the same day.

Treasury in June also imposed sanctions on five companies and technology firms, as well as three executives from one of the companies, who are accused of aiding Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB).

Toomey and Van Hollen said “it’s critical that the United States employ a comprehensive approach to confront and counter Russia’s malign behavior towards the United States, especially in order to defend the integrity of our elections.”

Both lawmakers are members of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over financial sanctions. The panel’s chairman, Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP requests update on criminal referrals prompted by 2018 Kavanaugh probe Nearing finish line, fight for cannabis banking bill shifts to the Senate On The Money: Trump strikes trade deal with Japan on farm goods | GOP senator to meet Trump amid spending stalemate | House passes cannabis banking bill | Judge issues one-day pause on subpoena for Trump's tax returns MORE (R-Idaho), said Tuesday that he’d hold hearings on stricter Russian sanctions amid growing concerns about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamPelosi, Schumer hit 'flailing' Trump over 'sham ceasefire' deal Pompeo to meet Netanyahu as US alliances questioned Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezPaul blocks Senate vote on House-passed Syria resolution House to vote on resolution condemning Trump's Syria pullback Rand Paul calls for probe of Democrats over Ukraine letter MORE (D-N.J.) said Tuesday they are working on legislation to slap new sanctions on Russia as Congress faces pressure to crack down in the wake of the summit between the president and Putin last week.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerTrump's GOP impeachment firewall holds strong George Conway hits Republicans for not saying Trump's name while criticizing policy Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid MORE (R-Tenn.) also pledged Tuesday to hold hearings on new Russian sanctions.

Senators have been weighing how to respond to the Kremlin after Trump refused to denounce Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election during a news conference alongside Putin in Helsinki.

Menendez and Graham said their bill would target Russia’s debt, energy and financial sectors, cyber actors, and oligarchs close to Putin. It would also ensure the 2017 sanctions legislation, which passed Congress overwhelmingly, is fully implemented.

Boosting sanctions on Russia’s debt and energy and financial sectors could create severe economic consequences that could potentially affect the U.S., however. Lawmakers scrapped planned sanctions on Russian oil last year after U.S. drillers and refineries expressed concerns that the provisions could halt American projects abroad.

Treasury also warned lawmakers in February that further sanctions on Russia’s debt or financial markets could devastate its economy so badly that they could provoke a military response from the Kremlin.

The department also said that banning U.S firms from Russian financial markets could disadvantage American businesses against European rivals that actively trade in the east.

“The magnitude and scope of consequences from expanding sanctions to sovereign debt and derivatives is uncertain and the effects could be born by both the Russian Federation and U.S. investors and businesses,” Treasury said.