FLEMINGTON, N.J. — Congressman Leonard Lance (NJ-07) released the following statement after the Trump Administration expelled dozens of Russian intelligence officers and shuttered the Russian consulate in Seattle.
“Vladimir Putin and the Russian officials doing his bidding must face severe consequences for their destabilizing activities around the world. The announcement of the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers is the latest sign that the U.S. is fighting back against Russian aggression and nefarious global actions. This announcement comes on the heels of U.S.-imposed sanctions for election meddling. We must respond strongly to Russia – its government does not share our interests or values and has succeeded in sowing discontent in the United States and among our greatest allies. We must continue to denounce and punish Putin’s actions without hesitation,” said Lance.
The President ordered the expulsion of dozens of Russian intelligence officers from the United States on Monday and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle due to its proximity to one of the U.S.’s submarine bases and Boeing. The White House statement highlighted how the United States took this action in conjunction with NATO allies and partners around the world in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, the latest in its ongoing pattern of destabilizing activities around the world. The White House statement added, “Today’s actions make the United States safer by reducing Russia’s ability to spy on Americans and to conduct covert operations that threaten America’s national security. With these steps, the United States and our allies and partners make clear to Russia that its actions have consequences. The United States stands ready to cooperate to build a better relationship with Russia, but this can only happen with a change in the Russian government’s behavior.”
Lance was the first Republican lawmaker to introduce legislation that would force the sanctioning of the Russian government. Lance joined with Reps. Denny Heck (WA-10), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Karen Bass (CA-37) to introduce legislation requiring the Trump Administration to enforce the congressionally-mandated sanctions against the Russian government for election meddling. The Directing Implementation of Sanctions and Accountability for Russian Mischief (DISARM) Act will punish the Russian government and eliminate any option the executive branch may exercise to ignore the will of Congress in seeing Russian officials held accountable. Lance was also one of the first Republican lawmakers to introduce legislation punishing Russia for election interference.