The top Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are calling on President Donald Trump to investigate the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Axios reported that Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y. and ranking member Michael McCaul, R-Texas, made their request in a letter to the president on Tuesday.
Chemical weapons experts in Germany, where Navalny is hospitalized, say tests show the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent, Novichok.
“(We) formally request that the executive branch investigate whether Russia has used chemical weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical weapons against its own nationals,” Engel and McCaul said in their letter.
They noted that U.S. law mandates that the administration determine within 60 days whether an accused nation has used chemical weapons in violation of international law. Sanctions must be imposed if Russia is found to have been responsible.
“The poisoning of Mr. Navalny is particularly disturbing given that a Novichok agent was also used in a March 2018 attack on former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, England,” the lawmakers said in their letter. “In that instance, you determined that the Russian government was behind the attack in contravention of international law which in turn triggered sanctions against Russia.”
Trump said Friday: “We have not had any proof yet, but we will take a look.”
Meanwhile, Navalny’s condition has improved, allowing physicians to take him out of an induced coma.
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