The U.S. plans to impose new\u00a0sanctions against\u00a0Russia this week in a move that would directly target\u00a0the country's business elite, according to multiple media outlets.\u00a0\r\nThe aggressive sanctions aimed at\u00a0wealthy oligarchs\u00a0with ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin are economic in nature,\u00a0the Washington Post and Reuters reports. USA TODAY has reached out to the State Department and the U.S. Treasury for confirmation. The State Department declined to comment Wednesday evening.\r\nThe planned sanctions are authorized under a law passed overwhelmingly by Congress last August, which required President Trump to name\u00a0wealthy Russians close to Putin, and allowed\u00a0him to impose sanctions on those people. The Treasury Department issued such a list in February, but\u00a0the public version of the "Putin list"\u00a0appeared to be based on a\u00a0Forbes\u00a0report of Russia's rich and famous.\r\nThe classified version of that report was "a serious look at Putin\u2019s power structure, people in an out of government who are part of his circle," said Daniel Fried, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council think tank.\r\n"Going after them sends a message that Putin cannot protect his own people," said Fried, who recently retired from the State Department, where he directed sanctions policy. That would demonstrate that "when Putin attacks the West, that doesn\u2019t go cost free and that\u2019s a very important message," he said.\r\nPresident Trump has received significant backlash from politicians,\u00a0including Sen. John McCain, R.-Ariz,\u00a0for not sanctioning Putin's cronies at the time, and for\u00a0his ongoing desire to "get along" with the Russian leader.\r\nOn Tuesday, Trump told the leaders of the Baltic States \u2014\u00a0Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia \u2014 that he\u00a0has been tough on threats from Russia, but said a better relationship with Putin would be "a good thing."\r\nIn his final public remarks as national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster said in a speech on Tuesday that\u00a0the U.S. and other nations had failed to be tough enough\u00a0against Russia's\u00a0"pernicious" aggression\u00a0that combines political, economic and cyber attacks on democratic countries.\r\nThe outgoing national security adviser warned against those in the U.S. who would "glamorize and apologize" for rogue regimes like Russia.\r\n"For too long, some nations have looked the other way in the face of these threats," McMaster told an Atlantic Council gathering in Washington Tuesday night. "Russia brazenly, and implausibly denies its actions, and we have failed to impose sufficient costs.\u201d\r\nWhite House aides have defended Trump's handling of Russia, pointing to tougher sanctions and the expulsion of 60 diplomats that U.S. officials said were likely spies. Those moves were in retaliation to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the recent poison attack on an ex-Russian spy in London.\r\nMeanwhile, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating any links between Trump's campaign and Russians who sought to influence the 2016 election\u00a0by hacking Democrats and pushing fake news. Trump has denied any sort of collusion with the Russians.\r\nBrett Bruen, who served as director of global engagement in former president Barack Obama's National Security Council, said\u00a0new sanctions on\u00a0Putin's inner circle will not have the desired impact.\r\n"We tried this," Bruen said, referring to sanctions on Putin's inner circle\u00a0imposed to punish Russia for its seizure and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula.\u00a0\r\nRussia has proven it can survive economic sanctions aimed at individuals, which so far are the only tool the West has been willing to use against it, Bruen said. Instead, the U.S. should launch an aggressive information campaign to show the Russian people how Putin's corruption and mismanagement is hurting them and making them unsafe, he said.\r\n"We need to show we have the capacity to hit Putin where it hurts," he said. "Puncture this inflated propagandized public image that he has. Show who and what he is."