The U.S. supports British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt's call for Europe to strengthen sanctions after the poisoning of an ex-spy and his daughter in the United Kingdom in March, he said. "And that's a big thing for them", Trump said in an Oval Office interview with Reuters.
"The chilling effect on the Russian economy... has been significant and measurable", the official said, telling committee members that 217 Russian individuals and entities have been hit by American sanctions so far. More will automatically come into place soon unless Russian Federation complies with U.S. requests, which is unlikely to happen.
"Of course, we must engage with Moscow, but we must also be blunt: Russia's foreign policy under President [Vladimir] Putin has made the world a more unsafe place", Hunt said in the speech.
Responding to Hunt's speech, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Britain of trying to impose its policy toward Russia on the European Union and the United States.
Cory Gardner pressed both Mitchell and the Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing Marshall Billingslea on whether the administration is considering designating Russian Federation as a state sponsor of terrorism - after North Korea was for using a nerve agent in the assassination of Kim Jong Un's half-brother in Malaysia.
The Obama administration sanctioned the FSB in December 2016, citing the Russian government's aggressive harassment of USA officials and cyber operations aimed at the 2016 US presidential election.
"That means calling out and responding to transgressions with one voice whenever and wherever they occur, from the streets of Salisbury to the fate of Crimea", he said, referring to the Ukrainian peninsula which Russian Federation annexed in 2014.
But the officials faced questions from sceptical lawmakers about the administration's policy toward Russian Federation, particularly since Trump has sent conflicting messages about it. Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said it appeared to him as though the administration were pursuing two different policies: one of the president's and one of federal national security agencies.
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Russian officials dismissed the company's claims as unfounded.
In the face of that continued interference, Mitchell and Billingslea declined to comment whether sanctions were "working", but both noted what they considered some successes.
The US has also been repeatedly blamed for using its sanctions as a tool to put pressure on countries around the globe that are looking to reduce their dependence on Washington and strengthen their defense capabilities through Russian-made weapons.