Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning

Bipartisan group of senators call on Trump to sanction Russia over Navalny poisoning
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A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday called on the Trump administration to impose new sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, a leading opposition figure and prominent critic of Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFox News: 'Entirely unacceptable' for 'NSA to unmask Tucker Carlson' Overnight Defense: US launches another airstrike in Somalia | Amendment to expand Pentagon recusal period added to NDAA | No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia No. 2 State Dept. official to lead nuclear talks with Russia next week MORE.

The call comes after the European Union and the United Kingdom imposed sanctions last week on six top Russian officials, including the chief of Russia’s internal security service and Putin’s deputy chief of staff, over Navalny's poisoning. 

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoNoem to travel to South Carolina for early voting event Poll: Trump leads 2024 GOP primary trailed by Pence, DeSantis Pence v. Biden on China: Competing but consistent visions MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Biden rallies Senate Dems behind mammoth spending plan Mnuchin dodges CNBC questions on whether Trump lying over election Democrats justified in filibustering GOP, says Schumer MORE, the lawmakers called for the U.S. to identify the individuals behind Navalny’s attack. 

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“Those whom Mr. Navalny has rightly branded as ‘thieves and crooks’ have attempted to silence one of Russia’s last independent voices with this attack,” the senators wrote.

“As this Administration works with partners to identify the individuals behind this crime, the commitment of the United States to deterring such acts is critical,” they added.  

The letter was signed by Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBipartisan congressional commission urges IOC to postpone, relocate Beijing Games Hillicon Valley: Democrats introduce bill to hold platforms accountable for misinformation during health crises | Website outages hit Olympics, Amazon and major banks Senators introduce bipartisan bill to secure critical groups against hackers MORE (R-Fla.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDemocrats pushing for changes to bipartisan infrastructure deal The Hill's Morning Report - 2024 GOPers goal: Tread carefully, don't upset Trump Bipartisan spending deal meets fresh resistance from key Democrats MORE (D-Md.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerHere's evidence the Senate confirmation process is broken Commerce office used racial profiling operating as 'rogue' police force: Senate report Rand Paul introducing measure to repeal public transportation mask mandates MORE (R-Miss.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinBiden: Pathway to citizenship in reconciliation package 'remains to be seen' DACA court ruling puts weight of immigration reform on Democrats New York gun rights case before Supreme Court with massive consequences  MORE (D-Ill.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTransit funding, broadband holding up infrastructure deal Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal Bipartisan group says it's still on track after setback on Senate floor MORE (R-Utah) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsKavanaugh conspiracy? Demands to reopen investigation ignore both facts and the law Key Biden ally OK with dropping transit from infrastructure package Democrats criticize FBI's handling of tip line in Kavanaugh investigation MORE (D-Del.). 

Navalny, who became gravely ill on a domestic Russian flight, was found to have been poisoned with the Soviet-era chemical nerve agent Novichok, according to German doctors who treated the opposition leader when he was taken to Berlin for treatment. Use of the nerve agent was later confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. 

Navalny has since recovered and, in an interview with CBS’s "60 minutes" that aired Sunday, called on President TrumpDonald TrumpRonny Jackson, former White House doctor, predicts Biden will resign McCarthy: Pelosi appointing members of Jan. 6 panel who share 'pre-conceived narrative' Kinzinger denounces 'lies and conspiracy theories' while accepting spot on Jan. 6 panel MORE to condemn the use of the chemical weapon.

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“I think it's extremely important that everyone, of course including and maybe first of all, the president of United States, to be very again[st] using chemical weapons in the 21st century,” Navalny said on the program.

Russian officials have denied accusations that they were behind the attack, raised doubts over the conclusions of Novichok and accused Europe of instituting a smear campaign against Moscow. 

Novichok was earlier identified in the poisoning of the Russian-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in the English town of Salisbury. The international community, joined by the U.S., responded by imposing sanctions on Russia, expelling diplomats and closing Russian missions. 

“The Putin regime has already shown a willingness to murder its critics in other countries using radioactive materials and chemical weapons,” the senators wrote. “Our efforts to assist those who seek only that their country abide by its own laws and international commitments serve as a powerful signal to all brutal regimes.”