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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 PutinThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? Overnight Defense: Trump impeached for second time | National Guard at Capitol now armed, swelling to 20K troops for inauguration | Alabama chosen for Space Command home Pelosi's risky blunder: Talking about Trump and nuclear war 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 PompeoVoice of America journalists demand director's resignation over Pompeo event UN officials: Houthis terror designation is 'death sentence' for Yemen civilians The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven MnuchinTreasury Department sanctions inner circle of Russian agent Derkach for election interference Sanders defends push to impeach Trump: Insurrection won't be tolerated Ben Carson dismisses 25th Amendment talk: 'As a nation we need to heal' 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 RubioConfirmation hearing for Biden's DNI pick postponed McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE (R-Fla.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinGeorgia keeps Senate agenda in limbo Trump signs bill authorizing memorial to fallen journalists Sweeping COVID-19, spending deal hits speed bumps MORE (D-Md.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerWall Street Journal: GOP Electoral College 'stunt' will hurt US, Republican Party Bipartisan group of senators: The election is over Southwest Airlines says it won't furlough workers after Trump signed relief bill MORE (R-Miss.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSchumer says Democrats will probe extremist groups after Capitol attack Trump's legacy is discord and division Schumer calls for 25th Amendment to be invoked after Capitol riots MORE (D-Ill.), Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Additional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inauguration Ben Shapiro stirs controversy by guest writing Politico newsletter MORE (R-Utah) and Chris CoonsChris Andrew CoonsSecurity concerns mount ahead of Biden inauguration Trump impeachment collides with Biden's agenda Sanders to wield gavel as gatekeeper for key Biden proposals 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 TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol 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.”