US looking for “sanctionable activity” against Russia for election meddling

The US administration is looking “very closely for sanctionable activity” against Russia for interfering the 2016 presidential election, the State Department confirmed Tuesday.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert defended the administration’s response to Moscow’s actions, telling reporters “Let me remind you, the US government and the State Department has done a lot when it comes to holding Russia accountable for its actions back in the 2016 elections,” referencing the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA, which Congress passed last year in part to impose new sanctions on Russia. The Trump administration has received criticism for not imposing sanctions that the legislation called for. The State and Treasury departments have said that the threat of sanctions has successfully disrupted and ended billions of dollars worth of deals in the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.

Nauert also noted the US officials were continuing to look “very closely for sanctionable activity against Russia.” She affirmed that the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believed intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Earlier in the month, Tillerson proposed to Congress plans to form a Cyber Bureau within the State Department that would focus on building relationships with foreign governments to coordinate on international cybersecurity priorities. “The goal is to make a cyber-bureau that would be headed by a an assistant secretary. If anything we’re elevating the importance of cyber activity and cracking down,” Nauert said.

On Tuesday, an attorney pleads guilty to lying to investigators over his role in the Russia election interference. Last week, 13 Russian nationals and three companies were indicted for interfering in the American political system from 2014 through 2016, charging them with conspiracy to defraud the United States.

Source: Kuwait News Agency