Lawmakers Urge Trump to Ramp Up Sanctions Against Russia Over Nerve-Agent Attack

Lawmakers on Thursday urged the Trump administration to impose further punishments against Russia after the U.S. and its European allies blamed Moscow for a nerve-agent attack on a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote a letter to President Donald Trump asking him to determine whether Russia should be targeted with new sanctions under the Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991. Separately, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ben Sasse (R-NE), asked top administration officials to work with America’s NATO partners to develop a “collective response” to the nerve-agent attack against Sergei Skripal. The British government responded this week by expelling 23 Russian diplomats, and the senators asked NATO countries to consider doing the same, in addition to freezing Russian assets. Earlier Thursday, the Trump administration announced that it was implementing a sweeping new sanctions regime targeting Russia in response to its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. —Andrew Desiderio