Top Senate Dems demand report from Trump on UK nerve agent attack

Top Senate Dems demand report from Trump on UK nerve agent attack
© Getty Images

A group of top Democratic senators formally requested on Friday that President TrumpDonald TrumpMedia giants side with Bannon on request to release Jan. 6 documents Cheney warns of consequences for Trump in dealings with Jan. 6 committee Jan. 6 panel recommends contempt charges for Trump DOJ official MORE provide Congress with a full report about the nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom. 

The lawmakers, who all sit on key national security committees, say that Trump should impose sanctions on the Kremlin if the U.S. concludes that the Kremlin was behind the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a chemical weapon. 

“We formally request a determination of whether a foreign government has used lethal chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law and a report to Congress analyzing the attack,” the senators wrote in a Friday letter addressed to the president. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Senators who serve as the top Democrats on five different Senate committees signed the letter, including the Foreign Relations Committee’s Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Spending bill faces Senate scramble Republicans raise concerns over Biden's nominee for ambassador to Germany MORE (N.J.), Judiciary Committee’s Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNew variant raises questions about air travel mandates Progressive groups urge Feinstein to back filibuster carve out for voting rights or resign Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (Calif.), Appropriations Committee’s Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyBiden signs four bills aimed at helping veterans The Hill's Morning Report - Ins and outs: Powell renominated at Fed, Parnell drops Senate bid On The Money — Biden sticks with Powell despite pressure MORE (Vt.), Armed Services Committee’s Jack ReedJack ReedRubio blocks quick votes on stalemated defense bill Overnight Defense & National Security — US, Iran return to negotiating table Senate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo MORE (R.I.) and Intelligence Committee’s Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerFive Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future MORE (D-Va). 

Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinConservatives target Biden pick for New York district court Democrats, GOP pitch parliamentarian on immigration policies in spending bill Senate parliamentarian looms over White House spending bill MORE (D-Ill.) also signed the letter.

The call for a comprehensive analysis — which comes after the U.S. and France joined the U.K. in blaming Russia for the attack — signals that Democrats want to slap Russia with consequences for the attack.

The Kremlin has denied responsibility for the attack

In an address to Parliament earlier this month, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. government had determined the Russian government was likely behind the attack, pointing to the assessment of Moscow’s chemical weapons capabilities and its record of signing off on former intelligence officers' death warrants.

U.K. officials announced that a highly lethal chemical agent was used in the attack. Known as Novichok, the chemical is known to be a military-grade nerve agent that the Kremlin develops, officials said.

“Given the use of such a dangerous nerve agent, as well as the origins of the substance, we believe a comprehensive analysis of this chemical attack is vital to uncovering the perpetrators and, if necessary, you should impose sanctions on the individuals and entities involved,” the lawmakers’ letter continues.

Concern about Russia’s aggressiveness in other countries continues to run high on Capitol Hill.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle largely agree that the Kremlin sought to sow discord and meddle in the 2016 presidential election and will likely strike again in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate 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 MORE, who is investigating Russian interference, indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian groups earlier this year for their efforts to conduct "information warfare" in the U.S. during the election, through social media and other sophisticated measures.

While the Trump administration has issued some punishment on Moscow for meddling, Trump has largely avoided criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin in public.