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Treasury Dept. sanctions Russian cyberactors for election meddling

A Russian flag flies at the Kremlin. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev / AFP / Getty Images

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is sanctioning five entities and 19 individuals in Russia over meddling during the 2016 U.S. election — as well as for destructive cyberattacks, including the NotPetya malware attack.

Why it matters: This is the strongest action yet from the administration in response to Russian election meddling, which President Trump has repeatedly downplayed or expressed doubts about. Brian O’Toole, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and former senior official at OFAC, tells Axios that while the sanctions “highlight behavior” by the Russians, “from a legal perspective it doesn’t change much.”