Russians interfered in our 2016 presidential election through a propaganda campaign implemented via social media.
The leaders of our national intelligence have said as much, in testimony before Congress.
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, said on Feb. 17 in Munich that the evidence of Russian interference in 2016 is “incontrovertible.”
The Justice Department made its thoughts on the matter clear on Feb. 16, when it indicted 13 Russians on charges of interference in the election. The Internet Research Agency, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, was named in the indictment as the hub of an ambitious effort to trick Americans online into following and promoting Russian-fed propaganda that pushed 2016 voters toward then-Republican candidate Donald Trump and away from Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the Washington Post reported.
An overwhelming, bipartisan majority in Congress voted for financial sanctions against Russia last summer. In the House of Representatives the vote was 419 to 3; in the Senate it was 98 to 2. It’s been a while since we’ve seen near-unanimous agreement on something substantial from both houses of Congress.
And yet, on Jan. 29, President Trump’s administration said it will not implement Russia-related sanctions mandated by Congress because the threat itself is acting as a “deterrent.”
Mr. President, that’s simply not good enough.
While we have deep divisions in many areas of American political life, we’re confident there is a broad consensus for the following notion: Only Americans should decide American elections. No foreign power should be allowed to interfere in our electoral process without punishment.
There’s a broad consensus against tolerating such interference in nearly every segment of our federal government. Except, puzzlingly, not in the Oval Office.
Mr. President, on Friday you announced shipping sanctions against North Korea in response to its continued development of a nuclear program and its testing of long-range missiles despite existing sanctions. The missile tests traveled uncomfortably close to our allies, South Korea and Japan. You were right to do this, because we must stand with our allies when its neighbors behave in a hostile manner.
We should be no less vigilant about nations which take action against us directly. That’s what the Russians did to America in the 2016 election.
They need to be shown that America won’t put up with it.
Impose the sanctions approved by Congress, Mr. President.