Senate Dems call for probe into why Trump has not issued Russia sanctions

Source: The Hill | May 18, 2018 | Olivia Beavers

A trio of key Democratic senators is calling on agency watchdogs to investigate why the Trump administration has not fully implemented mandated sanctions on Russia.

The lawmakers sent a letter Friday asking the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department and the intelligence community to examine the administration’s failure to impose the financial penalties on Russia.

The penalties, they say, should fall under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), a bipartisan piece of legislation that passed Congress last year with overwhelming support.

“In light of these apparent violations and the lack of corresponding sanctions, we are concerned about whether the sanctions implementation process within the administration is fulfilling CAATSA’s mandate and intent,” the senators wrote Friday.

“Likewise, it seems clear that several weeks ago the administration had identified specific Russian entities that had played a role in supplying or otherwise supporting the government of Syria’s chemical weapons program, had prepared a list of such entities for sanctions designation, and Ambassador Nikki Haley publicly announced their imminent designation — but then did not designate them, reportedly at the direction of the President,” it stated.

The letter was signed by Sens. Bob Menendez (N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Mark Warner (Va.), the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee; and Sherrod Brown (Ohio.), the top Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee.

The Trump administration told Congress in late January that CAATSA was already “serving as a deterrent” and there was no need to actually implement the penalties.

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