Schiff Warns of 'Vigorous' Response by Congress if Trump Reverses Russia Sanctions

Democratic House member says the sanctions need to be strengthened.

ByABC News
January 1, 2017, 11:05 AM

— -- The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee warned that if President-elect Donald Trump tries to reverse the Obama administration's latest sanctions against Russia, Congress will have a "vigorous" response.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California said he thinks Congress may actually want to strengthen Russian sanctions.

"You're going to see Democrats, and Republicans like [John] McCain and [Lindsey] Graham, and others come together with a strong sanctions package because frankly even though what the administration did was more than symbolic -- it was very meaningful -- it is not enough to deter Russia," Schiff told ABC News Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on "This Week."

The White House announced Thursday that the U.S. is expelling 35 suspected Russian intelligence operatives and sanctioning five Russian entities and four individuals in response to an alleged cyberattack that the U.S. says was intended to interfere with the 2016 election.

Asked by Karl how Congress would react if Trump reverses the sanctions after he takes office, Schiff said the reaction would be "even more vigorous, I'm convinced, in favor of stronger sanctions against Russia."

"We think that more has to be done," Schiff said. "We don't think that, frankly, the steps that have been taken are enough of a deterrent, and you're going to see bipartisan support in Congress for stronger sanctions."

Schiff also hit Trump for appearing to question U.S. intelligence reports that Russians are responsible for the hack.

"If he's going to have any credibility as president, he needs to stop talking this way. He needs to stop denigrating the intelligence community. He's going to rely on them. He's going to have to rely on them," Schiff said.

"This is the overwhelming judgment of the intelligence community and, frankly, all of the members of the intelligence committees in Congress, Democrats and Republicans. None of us have any question about this. The only one who does apparently is Donald Trump," he said.

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