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Sen. Bob Corker and members of the Foreign Relations Committee. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration's announcement yesterday that it won't be imposing new Russia sanctions has provoked considerable criticism, but many on Capitol Hill believe that reaction is overblown.

The big picture: Hawkish congressional Republicans who are unafraid to denounce Trump when they believe he's screwed up are genuinely not perturbed by what happened yesterday, sources close to them tell me. One source described the general reaction to the decision as "incorrect and hysterical." Sen. Bob Corker, an architect of the sanctions law, told reporters the process was just beginning and the administration is taking it "very seriously."

The background: A law passed last year made Monday the deadline to impose sanctions on third parties doing "significant" business with the Russian intelligence and defense sectors, and required a list of Russian oligarchs tied to Putin.

The administration concluded that the measures already in place were having a "deterrent" effect, with entities pulling back on deals, and declined to impose new sanctions.

The Trump administration's statement on that decision: 

"Potential targets of future penalties 'have been put on notice, both publicly and privately, including by the highest-level State Department and other U.S. government officials where appropriate, that significant transactions with listed Russian entities will result in sanctions. Given the long time frames generally associated with major defense deals, the results of this effort are only beginning to become apparent. From that perspective, if the law is working, sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent."

The bottom line: This is just the beginning of sanctions season and most Republican hawks are reserving judgment.

Go deeper: Treasury releases Kremlin list, with no new sanctions

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

4 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.