McGovern Statement on Trump Lifting Russia Sanctions for Putin’s Henchmen
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and author of the bipartisan “Magnitsky Act” passed by Congress in 2012 to sanction Russia for corruption and human rights abuses, expressed deep concern about President Trump’s action today to lift sanctions on the FSB, the Russian Federal Security Service and successor to the KGB.
Today the Treasury Department published a license that authorizes certain transactions between U.S. companies and the FSB and for the importation, distribution or use of “certain information technology products in the Russian Federation.” These transactions had been prohibited under Obama administration sanctions imposed on Russia in late December in response to a report by U.S. intelligence agencies on Russian efforts to interfere with the U.S. election.
Statement from Congressman McGovern:
“American democracy was attacked in 2016 when Russia’s security services interfered in our presidential election to help Donald Trump win. In response to the mountain of evidence from U.S. intelligence agencies showing that Russia was guilty of meddling in our election, President Obama implemented strong sanctions to hold them accountable.
“Donald Trump has been president for less than two weeks and he’s already easing sanctions on the Russian Security Service and Vladimir Putin’s henchmen – the very same henchmen who meddled in our country’s election just three months ago. Donald Trump constantly praised Putin on the campaign trail and today’s action is just his latest love letter to the Russian president.
“President Trump is letting Russia off the hook for interfering in our election and telling the world it’s open season on American democracy. Trump’s reckless abandoning of sanctions against Russian security services is a serious cause for alarm.
“It’s time for Republicans and Democrats to come together and support a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate Russia’s intervention in our election. The American people deserve to know how Russia hacked into our democratic institutions. We need to ensure that it never happens again.”
Congressman McGovern is a co-sponsor of H.R. 356, the Protecting Our Democracy Act, a bill to establish an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate foreign interference in the 2016 election. The bill now has 197 Members of the House of Representatives co-sponsoring it, including Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and all members of House Democratic leadership.
The Protecting Our Democracy Act would create a 12-member, bipartisan, independent commission empowered to interview witnesses, obtain documents, issue subpoenas, and receive public testimony to examine attempts by the Russian government or others to use electronic means to influence, interfere with, or undermine trust in last year’s U.S. elections. The commission would examine any similar efforts by any other foreign governments or entities and would issue a final report with recommendations to Congress and the President within 18 months of enactment.