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Senate GOP, Dems Agree on Sanctions, as Report Reveals Russia Targeted 39 States

New sanctions on Russia have to do with Ukraine, Syria, and more, but the timing is nothing short of striking after a new report that Russia targeted 39 of 50 U.S. states last year.

Vladimir Putin

Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) don’t agree on much these days. But the two senators teamed up with other Republicans and Democrats this week to levy new sanctions on Russia in the wake of its aggression in Ukraine and Syria.

The Washington Post has the details:

The measure, which will be attached to a bill to stiffen Iran sanctions that is under consideration, incorporates proposals to codify existing Russia sanctions, introduce punitive measures against Moscow in light of Russia’s aggressive activities in Ukraine, introduce measures addressing Syria and the realm of cyberhacking, and give Congress the power to review efforts by the administration to scale back sanctions against Russia before they can go through.

The Post also reported that Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), John McCain (R-AZ), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were involved in the discussions.

The sanctions come as Bloomberg reported this week that Russian efforts to attack the U.S. electoral system were far more widespread than previously reported. Though the sanctions are not a direct response to this report, the news that 39 states were affected by Russian efforts makes the sanctions more timely:

Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states, one of them said.

As Bloomberg also noted, ex-FBI Director James Comey said in his testimony on Capitol Hill last week that Russia is “coming after America” and “will be back.” These sanctions appear to be one attempt to deter their efforts.