Russian banks should bear some economic penalties for Vladimir Putin’s government and President Barack Obama needs to push harder to get a tougher response from European nations, House Speaker John Boehner said.
“You go after their banks,” Boehner said on Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo” in an interview airing today. “I’m concerned that we’ve not pushed the Europeans hard enough to take a firmer line against the Russians. And our allies in the region are scared to death.”
While U.S. officials have discussed targeting sectors of the Russian economy, such as energy and finance, they have so far only sanctioned 45 individuals and 19 entities, including SMP Bank and Bank Rossiya. The European Union is preparing to punish Russian companies that expropriated assets in Crimea, and may approve a list early next week, EU officials said.
“What Putin is doing is making the world less safe, and certainly making Europe less safe,” Boehner said.
Boehner also said the House select committee created May 9 to investigate the 2012 attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the administration’s response, would get all relevant documents that other panels have obtained during separate studies of the attacks. Costs for the panel will be covered by the House budget, said Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
Some Democrats say the committee is a political exercise aimed in part at weakening Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state at the time of the attacks and a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.
On scrutiny of the Internal Revenue Service and its handling of Tea Party groups, Boehner said it’s up to Attorney General Eric Holder to assign a prosecutor to investigate former official Lois Lerner. The House on May 8 voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about her role in the agency’s audits of the groups.
Boehner said he wouldn’t seek to use a provision in the Constitution to arrest Lerner.
“It’s never been used and I’m not sure that it’s an appropriate way to go about this,” he said. Bloomberg