President Trump's latest round of sanctions against Russia is going to hit some billionaires with close ties to Vladimir Putin, officials say. Sources tell Reuters and the Washington Post that the new sanctions, expected to be in place by Friday, will target Russian oligarchs under powers given to Trump by the "Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act." Congress passed the act last year in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea and alleged interference in the 2016 election. The administration, accused by critics of not being tough enough on Russia, imposed sanctions on 19 Russians last month and has joined dozens of other nations in expelling Russian diplomats in response to the poisoning of an ex-spy in Britain.
"If they do something tough like this, it may go some distance in reassuring angry members of Congress and the public who are looking at the midterms and wondering if this administration is focused on the Russian threat and taking moves to address it," former Treasury official Liz Rosenberg tells the Post. Sources say the sanctions will target around a half-dozen oligarchs from a list of Russian business and political leaders the administration released earlier this year. CNN reports that the move follows HR McMaster's strong denunciation of Russian aggression in his final remarks as national security adviser. "We have failed to impose sufficient costs," warned McMaster, who has been replaced by John Bolton. (Read more sanctions stories.)