Trump Administration Sanctions Russia for Interference in US Elections

Pres. Trump ‘It looks like Russia poisoned ex-spy

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The US Government on Thursday announced sanctions against Russians accused of trying to influence the 2016 election and of involvement in other separate cyber-attacks.

He said the sanctions would target "ongoing nefarious attacks" by Russian Federation.

Reaction from Russian Federation was swift. He did not elaborate on how Russian Federation would retaliate.

The White House unveiled new sanctions against five Russian-backed institutions and at least 19 foreign nationals for meddling in USA electoral politics; raising the stakes just hours after the United States and its European allies accused Putin of assassinating a former spy on British soil.

Some of the measures announced Thursday were the result of a Russian sanctions bill which Trump begrudgingly signed into law last August after it almost unanimously passed both houses of Congress. Last night, Nikki Haley blasted Russian Federation during a UN Security Council meeting for the assassination attack and other aggressive actions, demanding that they cease their offensive operations. Now we must protect our elections going forward.

US President Donald Trump boards Air Force One before departing from Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, on March 14, 2018. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

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US President Donald Trump has consistently called Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe a "witch hunt".

"Such narrowly targeted sanctions don't impact Russia's economy at all, and that seems to have been the administration's intent", said Michael Carpenter, a former Pentagon and White House official who worked on Russian Federation policy.

Mr. Trump was pressed again by reporters Thursday to blame Mr. Putin for the poisoning attack in the United Kingdom.

"We need a clearly articulated cyber doctrine that will deter nations like Russian Federation from going after our crucial institutions", Warner said.

Asked about the sanctions during a press conference, Donald Trump immediately raised the subject of the Salisbury attack, saying he was in "deep discussions" with Theresa May over this "very sad situation". "Something that should never, ever happen".

The administration is targeting five entities and 19 individuals for the penalties, including the Internet Research Agency, the St. Petersburg-based troll factory indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

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"We're going to increase pressure until they change their behaviour and become a responsible member of the global community", said a senior U.S. national security official.

Affected individuals include Yevgeniy Prigozhin - a businessman with close ties to President Putin, and who is said to have funded the Internet Research Agency. The Department of Treasury is also targeting five companies in Russian Federation alleged to be involved in cyberattacks and hacking aimed to influence the campaign.

The penalties for the first time use new powers Congress passed previous year to punish Moscow for election meddling.

The sanctions also affect the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, and six of its employees, for cyberattacks more broadly, including those targeting Russian journalists, opposition figures, foreign politicians, and U.S. officials. The Treasury also says that the GRU was "directly responsible" for the June 2017 NotPetya cyberattack on European businesses.

And Democrats homed in on the fact that the list of Russians hit with sanctions included all of those indicted by Mueller. These actions are the administration's most significant actions against Russia that follow the warnings by the NSA and US Cyber Command that believe if the US doesn't respond to these brazen actions by the Kremlin, Russia will only continue its malicious attacks against the country.

It was not clear what impact the attacks had on the U.S. energy and industrial firms that were targeted. A police officer who came to the pair's aid was also sickened. Today's sanctions follow those levied by the United Kingdom government yesterday (as a confrontation to a non-cyberattack related incident where Russia is being accused of attempting to kill a Russian-born British informant with a nerve agent). "It threatens the security of us all". On Thursday, the government sanctioned the GRU and six of its senior officials in response to that attack. May said: "we do hold Russian Federation culpable for this brazen, brazen act and despicable act". Pictured is Russia's president, Vladimir Putin.

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