The US Congress was upset that the administration of President Donald Trump did not impose new sanctions in a Treasury report that put 210 Russians on notice for allegedly meddling in last year’s election, US Senator Ben Cardin said Wednesday.
“They didn’t… and we are disappointed that none were imposed,” the senator told RIA Novosti, adding the legislature would “carefully monitor and having hearings.”
“It is hard to believe that no sanctions have been imposed as the result of congressional statute. President, I think, is flying in the face of what Congress intended,” the lawmaker said.
Asked whether the classified part would be published, Sen. Cardin said, “We can’t. We are not allowed to do that.”
Congressman Brad Sherman has also commented on the issue, telling RIA Novosti that the US Treasury’s list of Russian senior political and business figures required under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act has no relevance and is only a hint of sanctions that may follow.
“The list is inconsequential. It’s a hint that maybe somebody on the list could be sanctioned someday, but if we were serious about sanctions we could create the list when we needed it,” he said.
Rep. Sherman added a list like the one published Monday is “not that hard to put together.” “I guaranty — you put seven Russian journalist in a room for a day and ask them to list the richest people in Russia and the most powerful people in Russia…it might take you half a day.”
“Look, a list of major figures in the Russian government is available to everybody who read your publication. And a list of the richest people in Russia…you know, Forbes magazine publishes every year a list of the richest Americans and the richest people in the world. So to publish a list of rich people and powerful people is something that many news outlets do all the time,” the congressman continued.
On Monday night, the US Treasury Department released its so-called “Kremlin report,” which identifies potential targets for future anti-Russia sanctions. The list included 114 Russian politicians and 96 businessmen, and was compiled under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), which was passed by the US Congress last summer and enacted by President Donald Trump on August 2.
It includes ten Russian ministers, such as Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov among other high-profile officials. Though the new report does not automatically impose new sanctions, it paves the way for more anti-Russian restrictions.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who wasn’t included in the report, joked he was “sad” that he hadn’t been on the list, adding that, however, it represents an unfriendly step by the US administration. The Kremlin has also commented on the report, saying that the inclusion of top Russian politicians and businessmen in the report was “unprecedented.”