Idaho’s senior senator, Mike Crapo (R), has blocked a bill that would impose economic sanctions on any country found to be meddling in U.S. elections.
“The mechanisms in this bill have been designed more to attack the Trump administration and Republicans than to attack the Russians and those would attack our country and our elections,” he said.
The proposal from Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (R) and Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) would require a sitting president to impose economic sanctions on countries and individuals who interfere in our elections.
Van Hollen said an updated version of the measure would let any president pull back from implementing these sanctions.
Still, Crapo pointed to economic sanctions President Donald Trump (R) has already implemented against Russia to show that he and the Republican Party are taking the issue seriously. Any further sanctions, he said, could have unintended consequences.
“Economic sanctions legislation is a two-edged sword. It hurts the United States and our allies often as much as it hurts the entities sanctioned.”
Crapo said he’s tried to work with the sponsors to tweak the bill. But when asked by Boise State Public Radio what he wanted to change, a spokeswoman declined to say what had been negotiated.
Crapo’s objection came the same day the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned Moscow not to interfere in American elections.
Russia has continually denied doing so, despite a Senate Intelligence Committee report finding the country had “directed extensive activity” against U.S. election infrastructure between 2014 and 2017.
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