WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee andone of the lead authors of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA),issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) issued sanctions against 19 individuals and five entities under the provisions of CAATSA.
“The previous lack of seriousness shown by the Administration in the face of a clear national security threat and even clearer Congressional intent has been alarming. The sanctions levied today, while better than previous inaction, coming well after aCongressionally-mandated deadline, are incomplete and overlap with some steps previously taken by the Obama Administration. If the president agrees with these sanctions, and will finally admit that Russia sought to sway the American electorate and promote discord in this country during the last election, this may be a long overdue step toward protecting America from Russian cyber and propaganda attacks to our electoral and social systems that we know are ongoing. Despite strong bipartisan congressional action, the almost purposeful foot-dragging by the Trump Administration has sent a clear signal to Vladimir Putin that he can continue his destabilizing behavior against the United States, our interests and our allies. It will take time to see if we now have truly turned a corner. It is the responsibility of the President of the United States to use all the tools available to him to seek justice on behalf of the American people and protect our nation.”
In January, Senator Cardin released aSenate Foreign Relations Committee Democratic staff reportthat details Russian president Vladimir Putin’s nearly two decades-long assault on democratic institutions, universal values, and the rule of law across Europe and in his own country.