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 John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE to investigate Russia’s use of chemical weapons related to the poisoning of leading Russian opposition figure Alexei Navalny. 

Reps. Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse panel halts contempt proceedings against Pompeo after documents turned over Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Pence lauds Harris as 'experienced debater'; Trump, Biden diverge over debate prep MORE (D-N.Y.) and Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes legislation to crack down on business with companies that utilize China's forced labor House Republicans blame Chinese cover-up for coronavirus pandemic Engel subpoenas US global media chief Michael Pack 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

The attack on Navalny, a noted critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEx-Trump national security adviser says US leaders 'making it easy for Putin' to meddle The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Putin calls on UN to strengthen World Health Organization 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. 

ADVERTISEMENT

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.