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House panel calls for Trump to investigate Russia's role in Navalny poisoning

House panel calls for Trump to investigate Russia's role in Navalny poisoning
© Greg Nash

The Democratic and GOP leadership of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday called on President TrumpDonald TrumpHead of firms that pushed 'Italygate' theory falsely claimed VA mansion was her home: report Centrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting VA moving to cover gender affirmation surgery through department health care MORE to investigate Russia’s use of chemical weapons related to the poisoning of leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. 

Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelDemocrats call on Blinken to set new sexual misconduct policies at State Department Lawmakers on hot mic joke 'aisle hog' Engel absent from Biden address: 'He'd wait all day' Bowman to deliver progressive response to Biden's speech to Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war powers GOP lawmakers urge Biden to add sanctions on Russia over Navalny poisoning Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cybersecurity during summit with Putin MORE (R-Texas), respectively the chairman and ranking member of the committee, wrote in a letter to the president that such an investigation is required under U.S. law and will set the stage for possible sanctions against Moscow. 

The call by bipartisan lawmakers joins international outrage over the findings by Germany that Navalny was poisoned in Russia with the Soviet-era chemical nerve agent Novichok.

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The attack on Navalny, a noted critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinCentrists gain foothold in infrastructure talks; cyber attacks at center of Biden-Putin meeting Joe Biden the statesman Biden's summit with Putin is a good start MORE, echoed the use of Novichok in 2018 against the Russian double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English town of Salisbury. 

In that instance, the U.K. determined that Moscow was responsible and allied nations joined London in expelling Russian diplomats in response. The U.S. also closed a Russian consulate in Seattle and imposed sanctions. 

“If the Russian government is once again determined to have used a chemical weapon against one of its own nationals, additional sanctions should be imposed,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to the president.

“Those responsible for this despicable attack must be held accountable, and Russian President Vladimir Putin must know that he and his cronies will not be allowed to violate international law with impunity,” they added.

The lawmakers also called for the U.S. to demand Russia cooperate with an international investigation led by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. 

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Navalny is currently recovering in a German hospital after being evacuated from Russia following the poisoning on Sept. 2, with his staff saying he had ingested tea laced with the substance before boarding a flight leaving Siberia. 

President Trump said last week that he was awaiting the evidence from German officials concluding that Novichok was used against Navalny, saying “We haven’t had any proof yet.” 

Yet administration officials have condemned the use of a chemical weapon against Navalny, called the attack a poisoning and joined international calls for an investigation to find those responsible. 

The Kremlin has rejected that Russia is responsible for the attack on Navalny.