Senators say they'll push for stronger sanctions against Russia

By  | 

Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham say sanctions against Russia announced by the Obama administration on Thursday are "a small price" for Russia to pay for interfering with U.S. elections. They say they'll lead efforts in Congress to impose stronger sanctions.

President Obama imposed sanctions on Russian officials and intelligence services, and also has kicked out 35 Russian diplomats from its embassy in Washington and consulate in San Francisco, giving them and their families 72 hours to leave the U.S.

The diplomats were declared persona non grata for acting in a "manner inconsistent with their diplomatic status."

McCain, of Arizona, and Graham, of South Carolina, called Russian cyberattacks on the 2016 election a "brazen attack on American democracy" and say retaliation measures announced Thursday by Obama are long overdue.

Russian officials have denied the Obama administration's accusation that the Russian government was involved at the highest levels in trying to influence the U.S. presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia's goal was to help Donald Trump win -- an assessment Trump has dismissed as ridiculous.

Obama's move puts the president-elect in the position of having to decide whether to roll back the measures once in office.