Michael McCaul Statement on Biden Administration’s New Sanctions Against Russia
Washington, DC – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul has released the following statement in response to the Biden administration’s new sanctions against Russia for the Putin regime’s widespread SolarWinds cyber hack, attempts to influence U.S. elections and other malign activity.
“I appreciate the Biden Administration’s actions today to punish dozens of Russian individuals and entities that enable the Putin regime’s destabilizing behavior and to enhance U.S. efforts with allies and partners to bolster our collective resilience to Russia’s sophisticated cyber tools. However, the United States needs to send a strong, clear message that we will not continue to tolerate Russia’s malign activities. And while these sanctions are a necessary step, I am concerned they will ultimately fail to establish a credible deterrent.
“If the Biden Administration is serious about imposing real costs on the Putin regime’s efforts to undermine U.S. democratic institutions and weaken our allies and partners, then it must ensure the Russian malign influence Nord Stream 2 pipeline project is never completed. Therefore, I urge the Biden Administration to make additional sanctions designations today on the numerous entities widely known to be actively involved in the pipeline project as is required by congressionally-mandated sanctions.”
Led by McCaul, two letters to Secretary Blinken identified numerous entities engaged in sanctionable activity that have still not been designated by the Biden Administration pursuant to the mandatory authorities in Protecting Europe’s Energy Security Act, as amended. Instead, it appears the Administration is continuing to hide behind an opaque “evidentiary threshold” to avoid the full implementation of these mandatory sanctions.
Moreover, the legal approval provided by the Justice Department last month for two sanctions packages targeting Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO, Matthias Warnig, has reportedly been reversed amid an ongoing internal debate at the State Department over making new sanctions designations. Given the Nord Stream 2 pipeline is more than 95% complete, as Secretary Blinken testified before the committee last month, this delay is unacceptable.