Sens John McCain (R-AZ) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) just publicly condemned the Trump administration for failing to meet a legally-mandated deadline to impose sanctions against Russia for their interference in the 2016 election.
“The delay calls into question the Trump administration’s commitment to the sanctions bill which was signed into law more than two months ago, following months of public debate and negotiations in Congress. They’ve had plenty of time to get their act together,” the pair said in a joint statement on Wednesday.
The bipartisan bill was passed months ago, and had set an October 1st deadline by which Trump was required to identify which Russian targets should be punished as part of Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors. Those named would be met with sanctions.
The bill was passed as a way to force Trump to punish Russia for tampering with the election. The administration has not done so thus far.
Trump, for his part, has yet to weigh in on whether Russia interfered at all. An ongoing, much-publicized investigation is also being conducted into connections between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives, which Trump has said is “fake news.”
“In addition to the administration’s lack of responsiveness on this deadline, there does not appear to be a significant diplomatic effort to engage our allies in Europe and lead an effort to increase pressure on Moscow,” McCain and Cardin continued. “Congressional intent was clear, reflected in the overwhelming bipartisan majority in favor of the legislation.”
McCain and Cardin attempted to remind Trump of his upcoming deadline in another letter on Sept. 29th, the same day Trump later issued a memorandum delegating the bulk of the task to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Despite this, the Trump administration has yet to name any names as the bill demands.