U.S. senators are expected to introduce bipartisan-supported legislation Wednesday that will threaten harsh new sanctions on Russia’s banking, energy, and defense industries to deter the Kremlin from further interference in U.S. elections, Reuters reports.
According to the news agency, the legislation, called the Deter Act, will be introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The act would require the U.S. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) to judge whether Russia or any other foreign government had engaged in election interference within 30 days of a vote. If the DNI found any evidence, mandatory sanctions would be imposed within 10 days on Russian banks and energy companies.
The act would mandate that sanctions be imposed on two or more from this list of Russian banks: Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank (VEB) and the Russian Agricultural Bank (Rosselkhozbank).
It would also order the prohibition of all transactions subject to U.S. jurisdiction in Russian sovereign debt, Russian government bonds and the debt of any entity owned or controlled by Russia’s government.
The sanctions would include blocking – freezing without seizing – any assets in the United States of those targeted for sanction, including senior Russian political figures and business leaders.
Russia denies trying to influence U.S. elections. But U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have found that Moscow sought to intervene in the 2016 vote to boost Trump’s chances of winning the White House.
An investigation by U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller did not establish that members of Trump’s campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election, according to a summary released by U.S. Attorney General William Barr last month.