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Dem Senators Demand Rare Russia Sanctions Probe By 3 Agencies

Bob Menendez, Mark Warner and Sherrod Brown are fed up and they’re not going to take it any more. Yesterday they signed and sent a letter to the inspectors-general of three different federal agencies demanding that they investigate why the Congressionally-mandated Russian sanctions have never been implemented by the Trump Administration.

These three powerful Democratic senators said the administration has not complied with the requirements of a law passed by Congress called CAATSA, which stands for Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.  To express their disgust with Trump’s lack of action they sent their letter demanding action to the State Department, the Treasury Department and the Intelligence Community.

The letter is available on Warner’s website, which includes a press statement saying “the senators listed a series of instances where the Trump administration’s mixed signals or inaction have resulted in flouting seven mandatory CAATSA provisions, despite clear evidence of sanctionable activity.”

The letter reads in part:

“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.” 

“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.” 

There are plenty of sanctionable activities by Russia:  meddling in the U.S. elections, ongoing cyber attacks on voting systems, and undermining Eastern Europe democracies.

The fact that Donald Trump has not followed the law and enforced Russian sanctions may be just one more example of what a traitor he is.

As Senator Warner wrote:

“I want answers about the Trump Administration’s failure to implement sanctions against Russia that Congress passed last year. These sanctions aren’t optional. They’re the law of the land, and the President is required to follow them. Period.”

The letter “marks the latest of many claims from lawmakers that the Trump administration isn’t fully implementing the sanctions regime—and, in some cases, was keeping Congress in the dark as it missed critical deadlines mandated under the legislation,” according to The Daily Beast.

It is rare for lawmakers to request a multi-agency watchdog review for the same general matter. Menendez, Warner and Brown are the top Democrats on the foreign relations, intelligence, and banking committees, respectively, and each has jurisdiction over the agencies responsible for issuing and implementing the sanctions,” they wrote.

This is a very good sign.  Powerful Democrats in Congress are fighting back against Trump and creating a formal record of the president’s failure to follow federal law.  The fact that they had to send a joint letter to three separate federal agencies, however, underscores just how serious the situation is.  The President of the United States is disregarding federal law, and may be creating an unprecedented constitutional crisis.

Senator Warner wrote that he wants answers, and so do the American people.  It is time that we got answers, and it is far past the time for the Trump Administration to comply with the laws of the United States.



Leo Vidal

I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.

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