United States uses sanctions to strike back at Russian Federation for 2016 election meddling

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testifies before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

The Trump organization says it is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's subpoena.

The U.S. also hit targeted Russians with sanctions for alleged election meddling for the first time since President Donald Trump took office.

"They take a tough tone on Russian Federation but so far it's all words, not actions", said Michael Carpenter, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and a deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Obama administration.

The sanctions, targeting five Russian organizations and 19 individuals, will generally block them from traveling to the United States, freeze any assets in the country and bar US businesses and individuals from doing business with them.

They come after the United States, France and Germany joined Britain in denouncing Russia for a brazen poison attack that has left a former Russian spy and his daughter comatose in a Salisbury, England, hospital.

But congressional critics called the administration's action a woefully inadequate retaliation for Russian Federation interference in the 2016 USA election and other actions. To date, officials said, the administration has sanctioned more than 100 individuals and entities under authorities specific to Ukraine and Russian Federation. Trump still hasn't used strong retaliatory measures passed by Congress despite bipartisan calls for action.

The sanctions also underscored the shameful partisanship of Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee. As for the despicable attack in Britain, as recently as Tuesday, Trump said that "we will condemn Russian Federation or whoever it may be".

Sanctions also were imposed on individuals known as "trolls" and the Russian organizations that supported their efforts to undermine the election.

"They didn't hit Putin's power structure and they didn't team up with Europe", Brian O'Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank and a former senior adviser at the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, said of the administration's actions.

If President Vladimir Putin's aim was to become the most incendiary, corrosive influence on American politics, he succeeded spectacularly.

She added: "I think you can see from the actions that we've taken up until this point, we're going to be tough on Russian Federation until they decide to change their behavior". "They're going to have to decide whether they want to be a good actor or a bad actor".

Lithuania's foreign minister said the poisoning of Sergei Skripal - which has been blamed on Russian Federation - was a test of the UK's strength and diplomatic links ahead of Brexit.

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These actions send a bad message to New York's children and are against constitutional free speech protections. Attorney's office didn't immediately say whether it would seek a retrial.

The NotPetya virus spread quickly across the world, paralyzing computers and resulting in billions of dollars in damage through disruptions in shipping, trade, health care, and other industries, the Treasury Department said.

Whatever Russia's intentions, the poisoning of Skripal - a Russian national who worked as a double agent for MI6 - has underlined the strength of Britain's alliances in both Europe and the United States. He dismissed them nonetheless, saying they are part of a USA effort to destabilize Russia's presidential election on March 18. He has continued to vent to friends and advisers about the investigation and has privately questioned whether Russian Federation was behind the election meddling.

But Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was unequivocal in saying that Thursday's action by his department "counters Russia's continuing destabilising activities, ranging from interference in the 2016 election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks".

Mr Trump would not be drawn on Vladimir Putin's possible connection to the attack.

They added: "You can always count on Putin to unite Europeans just when they need it". Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer asked.

"We take no pleasure in having to constantly criticize Russia", Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, said in Security Council debate over the nerve-agent attack on Wednesday.

Other experts said the sanctions have no bite, noting that a number of the individuals and entities were sanctioned during the Obama administration as well. The sanctions also responded to other cyberattacks, including a previously undisclosed attempt to penetrate the USA energy grid.

The four allies said it was "an assault on United Kingdom sovereignty" and a breach of global law that "threatens the security of us all". "Something that should never, ever happen, and we're taking it very seriously". The sanction targets include officials working for the Russian military intelligence agency GRU.

Thursday's action blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to US jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in transactions with them.

According to ABC News, "The sanctions announced today target the Internet Research Agency, two affiliated companies, and 13 Russians who worked at the organization that spread disinformation online in the US, including through the use of fake personas posing as real Americans and American political groups, according to Treasury".

"I'm not anxious by this", Prigozhin was quoted as saying.

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