[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Ahead of the G7 Summit, beginning today in Sicily, Italy, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chris Coons (D-DE) wrote Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin calling on the Trump Administration to “vigorously enforce sanctions against Russian individuals and entities for their interference in the 2016 United States Presidential election,” and urging the Administration to work with allies to “deter Russia from wreaking further havoc.”

“As the lead sanctions enforcer, you must do more to make crystal clear to Russia – and anyone who aids and abets or colludes with them – that they will be held accountable for their interference,” Blumenthal and Coons wrote. “Collaboration with our allies is critical to ensuring Russia will not attempt to influence future elections. At the upcoming G7 summit, the United States should ensure these leading economic nations come to agreement to enforce multilateral sanctions on Russian defense, finance, and gas industries for their interference across elections.”

The full text of the letter is available here and copied below.

Dear Secretary Mnuchin:

We write to urge you to vigorously enforce sanctions against Russian individuals and entities for their interference in the 2016 United States Presidential election. In December, former President Obama expanded Executive Order 13694 related to significant malicious cyber activities to encompass cyber activities “interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.” While this was a long overdue and important first step, sanctioning just nine Russian individuals and entities is not a sufficient response to Russia’s actions. As the lead sanctions enforcer, you must do more to make crystal clear to Russia – and anyone who aids and abets or colludes with them – that they will be held accountable for their interference.

The intelligence community’s declassified report on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 Presidential election leaves no doubt that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a large scale influence campaign to corrode the public’s faith in our democratic process. Since this report was declassified and President Trump took office, no additional Russian individual or entities have been sanctioned. Russia must be made to realize that they have more to lose than to gain, and vigorous enforcement of sanctions will help send a clear signal that the United States will not tolerate Russia’s interference. Just this month, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper emphasized this need, stating, “there needs to be more done in the way of sanctions to the Russians, or any other government that attempts to interfere in our election process.” As such, we strongly urge you to identify and designate additional individuals and entities who played a role in interfering with our democratic process.

Our electoral process is a foundational element of our country’s democracy and we must do everything possible to defend the integrity of this process moving forward. The 2018 United States mid-term elections are quickly approaching, and we must makes sure Russia will not even consider attempting to interfere in them. By strengthening sanctions enforcement, the United States will send Russia the appropriate message – the United States will not tolerate electoral interference and there is a serious price to be paid for such action. 

Collaboration with our allies is critical to ensuring Russia will not attempt to influence future elections. The United States should partner with its allies in an effort to make Russia’s interference too painful to bear through coordinated US-EU sanctions. The French elections earlier this month clearly showed the world that Russia’s election meddling did not end with America. With several other important elections being held by allies later this year, including the United Kingdom and Germany, we must deter Russia from wreaking further havoc. At the upcoming G7 summit, the United States should ensure these leading economic nations come to agreement to enforce multilateral sanctions on Russian defense, finance, and gas industries for their interference across elections. A coordinated effort, as done against Russia for Ukraine, will make it clear that their actions cannot continue unpunished. As Russia seeks to weaken the West, a strong US-EU response is exactly what will threaten Putin the most.

Thank you for your consideration and we look forward to working with you on this matter that is critical to our nation’s enduring principles.