Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo wants to ramp up economic sanctions and “impose real costs” on Russian President Vladimir Putin for his country’s ongoing military incursions and interference in democratic elections in the United States and Europe, reports Lewiston Tribune reporter Bill Spence. Crapo is chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over international economic policies that affect the U.S., including economic sanctions.
The committee held a 90-minute hearing Thursday, looking at the effectiveness of past sanctions and options for the future. It was the second hearing on the topic Crapo has scheduled this year.
“This hearing isn’t about punishing the Russian people, but rather those responsible for Russia’s misbehavior,” Crapo said in his opening remarks. “The goal is to transform the (current) limited application of financial leverage into what must become a general campaign to impose real costs that impact Putin’s ability to conduct hostile activities.”
Former NATO Ambassador Nicholas Burns, who previously served as director of Soviet affairs for President George H.W. Bush, described Russia as “the most dangerous U.S. adversary in the world today.”
Putin “is using the power of the Kremlin to undermine American’s global interests,” Burns testified. “He launched a deliberate assault on our democracy (through Russian cyberattacks during the 2016 election cycle) and is actively contesting democratic elections in several European countries. … This is a blatant, unprecedented and deadly serious attack on democracy.”
You can read Spence’s full report here.