Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) says the United States needs to consider new sanctions on Russia's government in order to change its behavior.
Portman, speaking to Ohio reporters in his weekly tele-conference, said the current sanctions are tough, but they allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to get away with too much.
"I do think it is time to look at new sanctions on Russia and figure out how we can make them even more effective than the existing sanctions, which are the strongest sanctions we've had since the Cold War,'' Portman said. "But apparently they are not having the intended effect."
Ohio's junior senator said new sanctions would be justified "when you look at Russia continuing on the eastern border of the Ukraine a hot conflict; and what they have done in the Crimea and having not taken steps to stop that illegal annexation; and what they continue to do meddling in our election and other elections around the world."
On Monday, President Trump responded to Vladimir Putin's demands that sanctions against Russia be dropped by saying "sanctions on Russia will remain as is."
Portman, the former U.S. trade representative in the administration of President George W. Bush, put some distance between himself and President Trump on the trade and tariffs.
"On the trade issue, I do think we need to be tougher on China and countries that aren't playing by the rules, like China, for many, many years," Portman said. "We need to have some consequences, but I've also expressed serious concerned about the administration's trade policies – not being targeted enough and inviting enough, and therefore inviting unnecessary retaliation."