U.S. Republican and Democratic senators will introduce legislation on Wednesday seeking to deter Russia from meddling in U.S. elections by threatening stiff sanctions on its banking, energy and defense industries and sovereign debt. Known as the “Deter Act,” the legislation is the latest effort by U.S. lawmakers to ratchet up pressure on Moscow over what they see as a range of bad behavior, from its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s civil war to attempts to influence U.S. elections.
The measure will be introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican. They offered a similar measure last year, when it also had bipartisan support but was never brought up for a vote by the Senate’s Republican leaders, who have close ties to President Donald Trump. Trump has gone along with some previous congressional efforts to increase sanctions on Russia, although sometimes reluctantly.
The sanctions would include blocking – freezing without seizing – any assets in the United States of those targeted for sanction, including senior Russian political figures and business leaders.
Russia denies trying to influence U.S. elections. But U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have found that Moscow sought to intervene in the 2016 vote to boost Trump’s chances of winning the White House. An investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not establish that members of Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election, according to a summary released by U.S. Attorney General William Barr last month.
U.S. senators want stiff sanctions to deter Russia election meddling, Reuters, Apr 03