U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey on Tuesday urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to take action against the 12 Russian military intelligence officers recently indicted by the Department of Justice for their alleged involvement in cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
In a bipartisan letter, Toomey, R-Lehigh Valley, and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., specifically call on Treasury to use a 2017 sanctions law to punish those who engage in malicious cyber activity against the U.S. or attempt to meddle in our elections. The letter details an example from earlier this year when Treasury exercised this authority against another group of indicted Russian actors for similar nefarious activities.
“Vladimir Putin and those acting at his direction meddled in our 2016 presidential election,” Toomey said. “Accordingly, the Treasury should again exercise the tools it has at its disposal and penalize those identified as carrying out this attack on our country. Russia’s attempts to undermine our elections should be continuously met with swift and strong repercussions by Congress and the White House.”
Van Hollen said there is no question Russia attacked our elections in 2016.
“The Administration has the ability to sanction them today, and the precedent to support that action,” Van Hollen said. “As Congress considers additional legislation to deter Russia from attacking future elections, I urge Secretary Mnuchin to use the tools he already has to hold the Kremlin accountable.”
U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Hazleton, is the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate. He is trying to unseat two-term incumbent Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton.
Casey commended Toomey and Van Hollen for their letter.
“The Administration should act swiftly to hold these indicted Russian intelligence officers fully accountable,” Casey said.
Barletta said he, like Toomey and Van Hollen, looks forward to continuing to work with the Trump Administration to end Russian aggression.
“Foreign powers cannot be allowed to undermine our nation’s democratic process, and I’m pleased that the Administration, through both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of the Treasury, has continually held Russia accountable for its unacceptable actions.” Barletta said.
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.