Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown didn't let Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin get away with his evasive answers about imposing Russian sanctions and protecting our democracy.

Donald Trump’s State Department announced Monday night that it would not impose additional sanctions on Russia because existing sanctions are already “serving as a deterrent.”

Monday was the deadline for Trump to impose such sanctions under a law that was passed overwhelmingly by Congress, and the refusal to do so only served to confirm that Trump cannot be trusted to deal with Russia’s attack on our democracy.

And Democrats are calling him out over it.

At a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown confronted Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over the refusal to impose new sanctions.

As Mnuchin was trying to explain his department’s lazy use of a Forbes magazine article in an official report, Brown cut him off.

“When are you going to take those sanctions off the shelf, and use them in terms of cybersecurity, in terms of intelligence, in terms of American elections?” Brown demanded.

“Um, there is a substantial amount of work that was done, I look forward to you reviewing the classified report, we will be doing, based upon that, we will be looking at taking appropriate action,” Mnuchin said.

“Time is ticking,” Brown replied.

He noted that the sanctions bill passed Congress almost unanimously: 98-2 in the Senate, and only 3 no votes in the House.

“There’s a lot of belief on both sides of the aisle — I hear senators talking privately about this — that this Congress and the American people don’t trust the president on Russia, his closeness to Putin, all those things, and your delay on this, your slow-walk [of] this just enforces that,” he said.

Democrats have been calling Trump out over his coziness with Putin for quite some time.

But as Brown made clear, the message that Trump seems to feel he owes Putin something is finally getting through to the Republicans in Congress who voted to impose these sanctions.

This is good news for the American people, but it would be better news if Republicans were willing to say it out loud, and to hold Trump accountable.

Perhaps the prospect of devastating midterm losses will stiffen their spines.


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