January 16, 2018

As penalty for 'election-meddling', US Senate approves new Russian Federation sanctions

26 June 2017, 04:01 | Marion Schneider

Senate Republicans and Democrats reached agreement late Monday on a new package of sanctions on Russian Federation amid the firestorm over Russia's meddling in the presidential election and investigations into Moscow's possible collusion with members of President Donald Trump's campaign.

The US Senate has overwhelmingly passed an amendment to strengthen and expand the current sanctions against Russian Federation, sending a "strong" signal to President Vladimir Putin over territorial violation in Crimea, alleged meddling in elections and aggression in Syria. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) voting against the measure, the Senate approved a new package of sanctions that requires congressional approval before the Trump administration can roll back any sanctions against Russian Federation.

The Trump administration reportedly is weighing the return of Russian compounds on USA soil seized by the Obama administration, and the president has repeatedly expressed a desire for better relations with Moscow while downplaying the impact of Russia's cyber activities. The package is to be added to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is now debating.

The sanctions would codify existing economic restrictions and place new ones in an effort to economically harm specific individuals and Russia's economy.

The deal which has the backing of top Republics and Democrats was announced by the Senate #Foreign Relations and Banking Committee. The bill is expected to have strong support when it goes before the full Senate, and would have to then pass in the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump.

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Senators have struck a deal to put a comprehensive Russian Federation sanctions bill on the floor this week, according to those negotiating the legislation.

The bill - which passed by a 97-2 margin - includes language that would prevent President Trump from lifting the sanctions without Congressional approval.

Corker told reporters that "I only have talked a little bit with" Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who testified twice this week that the White House would prefer "flexibility" to adjust Russian Federation sanctions as needed. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said the plan left him with no good choice.

The power would allow congress to strengthen those sanctions in retaliation for Moscow's alleged interference in the 2016 election and its actions in Syria.

According to Politico, a senior administration official stated that the "White House is concerned that the legislation would tie its hands on U.S. -Russia relations".

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