WASHINGTON—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement regarding the Obama Administration’s action to expel Russian intelligence officials and sanction Russia’s intelligence services:

"The Administration's actions today are a good first step to respond to Russia's illegal interference in our election, and they send a message to Vladimir Putin that the United States won't stand by as Russia or anyone else tries to subvert American democracy. In my view, we need to go even farther.  Vladimir Putin's hostile action against our country has caused tremendous damage and poses an ongoing threat to the United States.  I hope the Administration views today’s announcement as just the start of a strong punitive response.

“Congress also needs to play a role by ramping up a thorough investigation and taking steps to ensure foreign governments and others can't criminally interfere in our elections with impunity. A good start would be passing the Protect American Democracy Act, which I recently introduced and will offer again at he start of the 115th Congress.  We also need to work with our allies to stiffen cyber defenses and coordinate a stern response.

“Lastly, we need to hear from the President-elect that he accepts the facts of what happened and understands the seriousness of this threat.  All Americans demand that responding to it should be a top priority for his Administration.”