President-elect Donald Trump has been warned by the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee not to reverse the President Barack Obama's administration’s sanctions against Russia.
If he does, Congress might pursue even stronger sanctions, says Rep. Adam Schiff of California, reports ABC News. "We don't think that, frankly, the steps that have been taken are enough of a deterrent, and you're going to see bipartisan support in Congress for stronger sanctions."
Schiff continued: "You're going to see Democrats, and Republicans like McCain and Graham, and others come together with a strong sanctions package because frankly even though what the administration did was more than symbolic -- it was very meaningful -- it is not enough to deter Russia.”
The White House announced on Dec. 29 that is was ejecting 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives from the United States and imposing sanctions on Russia’s two leading intelligence services, reports The New York Times.
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U.S. Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian government ordered cyberattacks against the Democratic National Committee and members of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign, which enabled the publication of emails to benefit the Trump campaign. Trump has consistently dismissed the conclusions, demanding that the evidence be made public, The Times observes.
Schiff condemned Trump’s skepticism. "If he's going to have any credibility as president,” Schiff said, “he needs to stop talking this way.”
Trump released a statement on Dec. 28 reiterating his position, but agreed to consider the secret evidence. "It's time for our country to move on to bigger and better things," he said in the statement. "Nevertheless, in the interest of our country and its great people, I will meet with leaders of the intelligence community next week in order to be updated on the facts of this situation."