Senate Dems seek sanctions on Russia over new election meddling

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and other senior Senate Democrats on Monday called on the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions on Russian individuals found to be meddling in U.S. elections following reports of new interference efforts

In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Senate Democrats pointed to concerns around reports last week that Russian agents are already interfering in the lead-up to the 2020 U.S. elections in order to favor both the campaigns of President Trump and Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“In light of this information, we urge you to immediately and forcefully impose sanctions on the government of the Russian Federation, any Russian actors determined to be responsible for such interference, and those acting on their behalf or providing material or financial support for these election interference efforts,” Schumer and Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote.

Brown serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, while Menendez is the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The senators called on Mnuchin and Pompeo to use existing statutory powers to impose sanctions on Russian individuals including President Vladimir Putin and other Russian government officials.

The senators warned that “doing anything less” than imposing sanctions on those interfering in U.S. elections would be “an abdication of your responsibility to protect and defend the US from this serious threat to our national security, and to the integrity of our electoral process.”