A senior Democratic congressman has warned US President-elect Donald Trump against reversing the tough economic sanctions that President Barack Obama imposed on Russia last week.
Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said on ABC's "This Week" program Sunday that the US Congress would push for even harsher sanctions against Russia.
"We think that more has to be done. We don't think that frankly the steps that have been taken are enough of a deterrent," said Representative Schiff, a California Democrat. “And you're going to see bipartisan support in Congress for stronger sanctions against Russia."
On Thursday, the outgoing Democratic president announced a series of economic sanctions against Russia, as well as expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, over allegations that it interfered in the 2016 presidential election through cyberattacks.
Trump’s top aides have suggested that the incoming president could reverse Obama's sweeping sanctions against Moscow and let Russian diplomats back into the country.
Incoming White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on the same ABC program that the Obama administration disproportionately punished Russia for the alleged hacking.
"One of the questions that we have is why the magnitude of this? I mean you look at 35 people being expelled, two sites being closed down, the question is, is that response in proportion to the actions taken? Maybe it was; maybe it wasn't but you have to think about that," Spicer said.
The US sanctions target Russia's FSB and GRU intelligence agencies, four individual GRU officers, and three companies who allegedly provided support to the GRU, and two Russian individuals for using cyberattacks to cause misappropriation of funds and personal identifying information.
Under Thursday's actions, the US also shut down two Russian compounds in New York and Maryland that the United States said were used "for intelligence-related purposes."
In addition, the Obama administration declared 35 Russian diplomats as "persona non grata." The diplomats, who had been given 72 hours, left the US on Sunday.
Meanwhile, members of Congress welcomed the sanctions, but said the measures were long overdue and not tough enough.
Trump, who will take office on January 20, would meet with intelligence officials this week to discuss the allegations of Russian interference in the November election.
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