Trump Finally Imposes Russia Sanctions That Congress Ordered Months Ago

Almost twenty Russians, many linked to social media propaganda efforts, were targeted.

Metzel Mikhail/Zumapress

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The Trump administration announced a new round of sanctions targeting Russian entities and individuals on Thursday.

The Treasury Department unveiled new sanctions against five entities and 19 individuals. Most of the people have ties to the Internet Research Agency, the “troll farm” that was indicted last month by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Thirteen of the IRA-linked individuals on Treasury’s list were indicted by Mueller, whose indictment described the IRA as the nexus of a large-scale Russian effort to influence the election via social media. The IRA itself is also on the sanctions list, as is Russia’s main intelligence agency and several individuals who work there. The sanctions will prevent the named entities from entering the US, and will freeze any assets they have on American soil.

“The Administration is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure,” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement. “These targeted sanctions are a part of a broader effort to address the ongoing nefarious attacks emanating from Russia.”

Some of the measures announced Thursday were the result of a Russian sanctions bill which Trump begrudgingly signed into law last August after it nearly unanimously passed both houses of Congress.

That bill required the Trump administration to identify companies and individuals that do business with Russia’s defense and intelligence sectors by October, and impose sanctions on appropriate entities by the end of January 2018. The administration, however, missed both of these deadlines, meeting the first requirement almost a month late and only after public scolding by lawmakers.

With Thursday’s announcement, the administration appears to have finally met the January deadline, if a month and a half late. The State Department had previously denied that it had missed a deadline, offering a different interpretation of the law, which Congressional Democrats roundly rejected.

“I’m fed up waiting for this Administration to protect our country and our elections,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, at the time.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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