Published: Fri, March 16, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Trump administration sanctions Russian spies, trolls over election interference, cyber attacks

Trump administration sanctions Russian spies, trolls over election interference, cyber attacks

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said in a statement that the administration "is confronting and countering malign Russian cyber activity, including their attempted interference in US elections, destructive cyber-attacks, and intrusions targeting critical infrastructure".

The United States has handed down stiff new sanctions against Russian Federation as President Donald Trump supports the UK's claims that Moscow was behind last week's Skripal assassination attempt.

The claim comes after the US Treasury announced that it was extending sanctions to 19 Russian individuals and five entities for their role in online disruption and attacks on key infrastructure. They came as the USA joined European allies in blaming Russian Federation for a nerve agent attack in Britain, deeming the action a "clear violation" of worldwide law.

According to a USA technical advisory, the hacking attempts date back to at least since March 2016, and successfully infiltrated energy sector networks from small commercial facilities via spearphishing emails, which installed malware on victims' computers. He threatened further sanctions.

"Today's action, using authorities provided by Congress, is an important step by the administration".

Saying "more must be done", Mr. Royce said his committee will "keep pushing to counter Russian aggression".

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Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization in the ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between members of President Donald Trump's 2016 U.S. election campaign team and Russian officials.

The sanctions, which were announced Thursday by the Department of the Treasury, mean all property of the individuals and entities subject to us jurisdiction is blocked.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, asked if Russian Federation is a friend or foe, told reporters, "Russia is going to have to make that determination".

Sanders says, "We're going to be tough on Russian Federation until they decide to change their behavior".

Mr Mnuchin said there would be additional sanctions against Russian government officials and oligarchs "for their destabilising activities". Six individuals also received sanctions that acted on behalf of Main Intelligence Directorate.

The action blocks all property of those targeted that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in transactions with them.

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Thursday's announcement comes as The New York Times reveals special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organisation to turn over documents, including some related to Russian Federation.

The U.S. government has helped the industries kick out the Russians from all systems now known to have been penetrated, according to the officials, but the efforts continue.

It is the first known instance of the special counsel demanding documents directly related to President Trump's businesses, bringing the investigation closer to the president. But he says Russian Federation has "begun preparing retaliatory measures".

Mueller has charged several Trump associates and more than a dozen Russians.

The Democrats' statement came days after Republicans on the House intelligence committee said they had concluded that Trump's 2016 campaign had not colluded with Russian operatives and that the committee was nearing the end of its investigation.

The company, and the man believed to be its financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin, were indicted by Mueller last month on conspiracy and other charges. In Washington, U.S. President Donald Trump went on the record, for the first time, about who he thinks is responsible. "We're going to continue to fully cooperative out of respect for the special counsel", Sanders said. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders declined to comment on the subpoena, reiterating the administration's position that there was "no collusion" between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation and referring further questions to the Trump Organization.

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