US Needs Bill To Increase Sanctions Pressure On Russia, Trump's Order Not Enough - Senator

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th September, 2018) The United States needs new legislation to increase the sanctions pressure on Russia, Senator Robert Menendez said in a statement on Wednesday after President Donald Trump signed an executive order authorizing punitive measures in response to any foreign attempts to interfere in US elections.

"I do not believe this executive order precludes the urgent need for legislation that increases sanctions pressure on the Kremlin for its destabilization of democracies here and around the world, support of a war criminal and terrorism in Syria and its ongoing military aggression in Ukraine," Menendez, a prominent critic of Russia and Trump, said in the statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that instructs Federal authorities to assess election meddling and impose sanctions on foreigners interfering in US voting.

But Menedez said tougher action was required to protect US democracy. The senator suggested that the Trump administration instead support legislation that he helped author, the Defending America Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA), which he said includes the harsh measures needed to deter meddling. DASKA calls for new sanctions on Russian political figures and their family members, as well as prohibitions on transactions in Russia's energy sector or sovereign debt, among other measures.

"If the Trump administration is serious about protecting our nation from foreign interference, they should endorse this bipartisan proposal," Menendez said.

He also accused Trump of being too slow to react to "the Kremlin's interference in [US] democracy."

National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier on Wednesday that Trump's Executive Order would pave the way for possibly blocking assets, restricting export licenses, limiting access to US financial institutions, placing restraints on foreign exchange transactions or transfers and prohibiting US citizens from investing in companies involved in meddling.

US officials have repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US election. Moscow vehemently denies the charges, insisting that it does not meddle in the internal affairs of other countries.