One official told reporters on Tuesday morning that the administration was not seeking to reset relations, but also was not seeking to escalate confrontations.
History suggests the sanctions may have little effect.
In 2018 the Trump administration announced sanctions against Russia for the use of a nerve agent against a former Russian double agent living in Britain, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, and expelled dozens of Russian diplomats. But that proved little deterrent to the F.S.B. using the same technique against Mr. Navalny.
White House officials are expected to announce the sanctions later on Tuesday, and the Treasury Department will publish a list of the names of those under sanctions.
But a senior official conceded that the action was, in many ways, catching up to designations that the Europeans have already made. The official said the main effort was to assure that the U.S. and Europe were “on the same page” after several months in which European sanctions went beyond any imposed by Washington.
The European Union on Monday approved the imposition of sanctions on four senior Russian officials considered responsible for the prosecution and imprisonment of Mr. Navalny.