Sep 30, 2019

Pompeo: New Russia sanctions show U.S. won't tolerate election meddling

Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. would impose more sanctions targeting Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian businessman known as "Putin's chef," for election interference activities carried out by his troll farm.

The big picture: Prigozhin and his social media manipulation operation, the Internet Research Agency, were indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller in February 2018 for election meddling. The additional sanctions come in the wake of a whistleblower's allegations that President Trump abused the power of his office to solicit 2020 election interference from Ukraine, which are now at the heart of a formal impeachment inquiry.

The backdrop:

  • Last Friday, the Washington Post reported that Trump told the Russian ambassador and the Russian foreign minister in a 2017 Oval Office meeting that he was "unconcerned about Moscow's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election because the United States did the same in other countries."
  • However, Pompeo said in announcing the sanctions: "We have been clear: We will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections." He added: "We will not hesitate to impose further costs on Russia for its destabilizing and unacceptable activities."

Go deeper: FEC chair claims GOP commissioner blocked memo about foreign election interference

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White House condemns bill requiring campaigns to report foreign interference

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The White House released a statement Wednesday suggesting it would veto the SHIELD Act (Stopping Harmful Interference in Elections for a Lasting Democracy) passed by the House, which would require federal campaigns to report foreign election influence.

The big picture: The White House argues that the SHIELD Act would "result in significant over reporting to the FBI and FEC, leading to fruitless inquiries and wasted time and resources." It acknowledged the importance of limiting foreign election interference, but argued that the bill would "produce harmful unintended consequences without achieving that goal."

Go deeperArrowOct 23, 2019

Senate Intel releases 2nd volume of report on 2016 Russian interference

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee released Tuesday the second volume of its report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which focuses on the social media disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency.

Why it matters: The report, which provides further bipartisan evidence of Russia's election meddling in 2016, finds "the IRA sought to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election by harming Hillary Clinton’s chances of success and supporting Donald Trump at the direction of the Kremlin."

Go deeperArrowOct 8, 2019

Top GOP senators ask DOJ to investigate Clinton and Ukraine

Sen. Chuck Grassley. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Republican Sens. Ron Johnson (Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa) asked the Justice Department Monday to look into links between the Ukrainian government and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.

The state of play: As President Trump is facing an impeachment threat over his own Ukraine controversy, Senate Republicans are attempting to turn the tables on Democrats in order to change the narrative.

Go deeperArrowSep 30, 2019