New Russia sanctions probably coming 'within a week,' U.S. spy chief says

Isaac Cain
March 10, 2018

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he's not anxious that Moscow will meddle in the upcoming midterm elections because the USA will take steps to prevent it.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said on March 6 that new sanctions will be announced shortly after members of the Senate Armed Services Committee criticized the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump for not imposing sanctions when it released a list of 210 wealthy and powerful Russians connected to the Kremlin in January.

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"Much of what is being done, or examined to be done, is classified", Coats said. Senator Mazie Hirono, a Democrat from Hawaii, asked who should lead efforts to counter Russian Federation with this year's elections "right around the corner".

Democratic senators on the Armed Services Committee focused many of their questions for Coats this morning on whether President Trump has given him any direction about how to respond to Russia's election interference.

The president did not expand on how the United States would counteract Russian efforts to sow discord when asked about Moscow's electoral interference during a joint press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven.

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Coats also said ISIS is picking up the pieces and trying to expand after some territorial losses in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-N.Y., continued the line of inquiry, pushing Coats again to say whether President Trump had instructed him to retaliate against or deter Russian Federation.

The letter from Senators Amy Klobuchar and Jeanne Shaheen followed a series of Reuters reports saying that several major global technology providers have allowed Russian authorities to hunt for vulnerabilities in software deeply embedded across the USA government. "Persistent and disruptive cyber and influence operations will continue against the United States and European nations and other allies, using elections as opportunities to undermine democracy, sew discord and undermine our values".

Coats noted that the 2018 midterm elections will be a potential target for more Russian influence campaigns.

Coats told the lawmakers, "We assess that Russian Federation is likely to continue to pursue even more aggressive cyberattacks with the intent of degrading our democratic values and weakening our alliances".

Ashley responded to concerns raised by Shaheen about additions to Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal, which Putin bragged about in a March 1 state of the nation address as capable of rendering USA missile defense systems obsolete. Putin said they didn't work on behalf of his government.

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