President Donald Trump’s administration is expected to sanction “several” Russian oligarchs with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin over 2016 election interference, according to two senior administration officials.
The officials said the sanctions will likely come later this week.
The planned sanctions would be the latest public step the US has taken against Russia in an ongoing tit-for-tat of punitive measures. The US and Russia last month continued to push each other’s officials out of their borders in a further round of expulsions from diplomatic outposts.
The US call for Russian officials to leave the country was done in tandem with a wide array of other nations collectively pushing out Russians after the March 4 poisoning of a former spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom, which the UK and the US have pinned on the Kremlin.
News of the expected sanctions came after outgoing national security adviser H.R. McMaster used his final public remarks before retiring Tuesday to lay into Russia and call for the US to do more against the nation.
“We have failed to impose sufficient costs,” McMaster said.
The Mueller investigation in February indicted 13 Russian nationals over alleged interference in the 2016 election, and the Trump administration announced sanctions in March against Russia, including people named in Mueller’s indictments.
News of the new sanctions likewise came shortly after CNN reported that special counsel investigators led by former FBI Director Robert Mueller have questioned Russian oligarchs who traveled to the US and that investigators are asking whether Russians funneled money toward Trump’s campaign or inauguration.
Reuters and The Washington Post reported earlier Wednesday evening on the planned sanctions. Reuters, citing sources familiar with the matter, said the sanctions would be “potentially the most aggressive move” the US has undertaken against Russian businesspeople, and the Post said the final number of oligarchs under sanction is “fluid” but would include those with ties to Putin.
The Post said Trump’s advisers have been pushing for further sanctions on Russia in recent weeks, given the electoral interference and other suspected signs of aggression.
Speaking about Russia on Tuesday, Trump touted his own actions toward the country, saying, “Nobody has been tougher.”