WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation on Wednesday seeking to deter Russia from meddling in U.S. elections by threatening stiff sanctions on its banking, energy and defense industries and sovereign debt.
The “Deter Act” is the latest effort by U.S. lawmakers to increase pressure on Moscow over what they see as a range of bad behavior, from its aggression in Ukraine and involvement in Syria’s civil war to attempts to influence U.S. elections.
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The measure was introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, and Marco Rubio, a Republican. They offered a similar measure last year, when it also had bipartisan support but was never brought up for a vote by the Senate’s Republican leaders, who have close ties to President Donald Trump.
Trump has gone along with some previous congressional efforts to increase sanctions on Russia, although sometimes reluctantly.
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Backers of stronger action against Russia believe such measures will have better prospects in 2019, given control of the House of Representatives by Democrats, who are less reluctant than Trump’s fellow Republicans to push back against the White House.
According to details of the legislation, first reported by Reuters, it would require the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to determine, within 30 days of any federal election, whether Russia or other foreign government or anyone acting as an agent of that government, had engaged in election interference.
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If the DNI found such interference occurred, the act would require, among other things, that mandatory sanctions be imposed within 10 days on, among others, Russian banks and energy...
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