WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Thursday after the White House announced an extension of Executive Order 13964 to include Russian individuals and entities, following a new FBI/DHS report and the Intelligence Community’s assessment in October that senior Russian government officials authorized cyberattacks in the United States related to the 2016 election and our democratic institutions:
“The Russian attack on our democratic institutions is a wake-up call, a political Pearl Harbor as others have noted. I encourage my colleagues in the Senate, the incoming administration and the American people to view it as such. Now is not the “time to get on with our lives,” but to take an appropriate response in line with the ongoing threat that Russia poses to our democracy and global security interests. I welcome and support the new sanctions announced by the administration today – it is a good start. Sanctions have been and will remain an important tool in the United States’ diplomatic arsenal to respond to attacks on our country and our allies and national security interests around the world.
“It is not, however, sufficient. The executive branch has acted, but it is imperative the legislative branch now pick up the ball and move it forward. Congressional sanctions can complement and strengthen these new executive sanctions.
Therefore because of Russia’s attack on us, their destabilizing and murderous role in Syria, and their illegal annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, I continue to believe the United States must go further and that is why I am introducing two bills next month – the first which would establish an independent, nonpartisan commission to further examine the attack and Russian’s efforts to interfere in our election. The second bill will frame our policy on Russia to include comprehensive enhanced sanctions in response to Russia’s interference in our election and its ongoing aggression in Ukraine and Syria. The bill will also increase assistance to bolster democratic institutions across Europe.
“I look forward to reading the full details from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security as soon as possible, and following up on any recommendations the agencies make for Congressional action. I also look forward to the Intelligence Communities broader assessment of the Russian attack, due before the Obama Administration leaves office.”