Senate Democrats urged the Treasury Department to counter ongoing Russian election interference in a letter asking the Trump administration to impose sanctions.
Addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the letter was sent Thursday, two months from Election Day, in light of the administration recently warning Russia is interfering in the race.
Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois and the ranking members of multiple Senate committees are among the letter’s 11 co-signers.
“Congress mandated a broad range of sanctions tools, and it is long past time for the administration to send a direct message” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the lawmakers wrote.
The U.S. should respond, they added, “immediately and forcefully to continuing election interference by the government of the Russian Federation and its surrogates, to punish, deter and substantially increase the economic and political costs of such interference.”
A message requesting comment from the Treasury was not immediately answered.
The U.S. Office of the Director of Intelligence said last month it assessed “Russia is using a range of measures” to denigrate Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden.
“For example, pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption — including through publicizing leaked phone calls — to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,” William Evanina, the director of the United States National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said in an statement Aug. 7. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”
Mr. Evanina added the intelligence community has assessed China and Iran want Mr. Biden to win in November, meanwhile.
“As many of us have observed, there is virtually no national security threat more serious than that posed by those who would undermine confidence in, and the effective operation of, our democratic elections,” the Democrats said in their letter requesting sanctions.
Election Day is Nov. 3.
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