Donald Trump’s administration on Thursday levied sanctions against Russia’s top spy agencies and more than a dozen individuals for trying to influence the 2016 US presidential election and conducting separate cyberattacks.
The announcement follows a lengthy delay that had caused anger on Capitol Hill and raised questions about Trump’s willingness to confront Moscow.
The measures target five entities and 19 individuals — including the FSB, Russia’s top spy service; the military intelligence agency, or GRU; and 13 people recently indicted by Robert Mueller, the US special counsel handling a sprawling Russia probe.
Sanctions were also levied against individuals behind a separate Petya cyberattack and an “ongoing” attempt to hack the US energy grid.
Trump has repeatedly denied that Russia tried to sow US political disunity and to tilt the election in his favor, fearing it could call his victory over Hillary Clinton into question.
The president has also decried allegations that his campaign colluded with the Kremlin — the subject of Mueller’s ongoing investigation that has seen several key aides indicted or make plea deals.
“The administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”
Many of the main entities and individuals hit — including the spy agencies and ‘troll factory’ boss Yevgeny Prigozhin — already face assets freezes and travel bans, either put in place under Barack Obama’s administration or for actions linked to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
But the decision heaps pressure on Moscow as it faces separate punitive measures for an alleged attempt to kill a Russian-born British informant with a nerve agent west of London.
Ivanka Trump wants to be the ‘first female president’ — but there’s one major obstacle
Ivanka Trump is harboring political ambitions after she leaves the White House after her father's election loss.
It's not clear where President Donald Trump's eldest daughter will live, along with her husband and fellow White House adviser Jared Kushner, but their former friends, colleagues and associates believe Ivanka Trump will try to build up her influence in the Republican Party, reported the Washington Post.
“I think she’d want to be the [first] female president,” said Marissa Velez Kraxberger, a film producer who worked for Ivanka for two years at her now-defunct company. “I don’t think she’s actually ever had any interest in fashion but everything was an angle to gain more power in whatever possible way.”
GOP senator knows Trump lost but thinks it would be ‘political suicide’ to admit it: report
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) is still spouting conspiracy theories about the election being "stolen" from President Donald Trump -- but according to one former Wisconsin Republican official, Johnson understands that Trump lost.
Mark Becker, the former Chairman of the Brown County Republican Party, writes at The Bulwark that he had a conversation with Johnson after the election in which the senator acknowledged Trump's defeat.
However, Johnson said that he was loath to admit it publicly because of the strong support the president had received from Wisconsin GOP voters, despite the fact that the president narrowly lost the state this year.
‘Dumbest senator ever’: Morning Joe mocks Republican Ron Johnson
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough mocked Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) for demanding proof of something that doesn't exist.
Attorney General William Barr announced the Department of Justice had found no evidence of voter fraud, as President Donald Trump has claimed, and Johnson called on Barr to "show everybody" the proof that the election had not been stolen.
"The man Guinness Book of World Records has called the dumbest senator to ever be sworn in in this constitutional republic," Scarborough said. "I'm speaking, of course, of Ron Johnson, who said that William Barr must show his evidence that he has no evidence."