Moscow is dismissing a U.S. government list of more than 200 influential Russian politicians and businessmen. The White House said the individuals named are not necessarily targets of U.S. sanctions.
American intelligence warns that Russia is trying to interfere yet again in this year’s U.S. midterm elections. CGTN’s Roee Ruttenberg reports.
The list of 96 oligarchs and 114 senior political figures is the result of a 2017 sanctions bill on “countering America’s adversaries,” including Russia. It passed in both houses of the U.S. Congress with widespread bipartisan support. U.S. President Donald Trump signed it, but has yet to implement any of it sanctions.
The Trump administration released the list late on Monday, before a midnight deadline imposed by the law. One U.S. official called the legislation “a deterrent” in itself that’s already bearing fruit, even without sanctions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called the list “an unfriendly act,” adding that he believed the list’s release reflected domestic U.S. politics and attacks on Trump. The sanctions law was largely seen as a response to alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections.
On Tuesday, U.S. officials seemed to suggest that sanctions were still very much on the table.
“Now we will take the basis of that report and look at — as we do in the normal course — where it’s appropriate to put sanctions,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said.
Critics slammed the president for failing to act, with many saying the administration let Moscow “off the hook yet again.”
“Right now we are a cheap date in the sense that there are no consequences. There are no results for when you do something to us, we don’t do anything back,” U.S. Senator Angus King said.
Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo said he had every expectation that Russia would try yet again to influence the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. He also warned that the DPRK was “a handful of months” away from being able to attack the U.S. with a nuclear weapon. Pompeo also called China “as big a threat to the U.S.” as Russia.