U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the Trump administration plans to impose new Russia sanctions based on a list of oligarchs and senior government officials published on Monday, The Wall Street Journal informs.
‘’The intent was not to have sanctions by the delivery of the report last night. There will be sanctions that come out of this report,’’ the Treasury secretary told the Senate Banking Committee.
He also said new punitive actions would be in the coming months, possibly even a month.
Meanwhile, members of Congress criticized Trump on Tuesday for not imposing sanctions on Russia, even though they had almost unanimously passed them last summer. They accused Trump of being too soft on the Russian president.
According to The New York Times, Democrats condemned the decision and accused President Trump of failing to do everything possible to deter any future foreign election interference. Twenty Senate Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday saying the failure to impose sanctions was ‘’unacceptable.’’
Some Republicans also expressed doubts regarding whether the president is taking action to defend the nation from future election meddling. Republican Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he believed the Trump administration was working in good faith, but added he would nonetheless apply any pressure needed to ensure further implementation of the sanctions law.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the list was an unfriendly act, but added that Moscow did not intend to pick a fight. He added that Russia had prepared serious measures in response, but would hold off for now while watching what the implications of the list are.
U.S. Democrats emphasized that the sanctions should have come immediately.
‘’These are mandatory sanctions. They passed 97-2 in the Senate. He’s ignoring them. And he’s not implementing them. This is an extreme dereliction of duty by President Trump, who seems more intent on undermining the rule of law in this country than standing up to Putin,’’ Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said, according to Reuters.