Senate strikes deal to rein in Trump on Russian Federation sanctions

Jun 14, 2017, 05:34

USA senators late on June 12 announced a bipartisan agreement on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russian Federation over its meddling in the US presidential election while cementing into law existing sanctions over its aggression in Ukraine.

"This will be a very comprehensive bill, it addresses all issues", the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Republican, Robert Corker said.

Yet lawmakers set a precedent of sorts in 2015 when they forced then-President Barack Obama to submit his Iran nuclear deal for their eventual disapproval, the Tennessee Republican added.

The sanctions, an amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill, are expected to pass easily on a bipartisan vote Tuesday.

The measure also would allow new sanctions on Russian mining, metals, shipping and railways.

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The deal would also give Congress 30 days-or 60 days around the August recess-to review and potentially block Trump from lifting or relaxing Russian Federation sanctions.

Russia has repeatedly denied any interference in the United States election and says the "Russian" rhetoric is there as a result of a open battle between the new Government and the shadow unelected Government who is imposing its will on elected officials.

He added that the language "definitely" includes congressional review, which would give Congress oversight over the lifting of sanctions, but Corker didn't specify if it includes new sanctions on Moscow.

Negotiators used a handful of bills that would add new Russian Federation sanctions, as well as allow Congress to block Trump from lifting current penalties, as a framework for the talks.

The proposal is tacked on as an amendment to a bill about sanctions on Iran. The deal was also worked out with Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Foreign Relations Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland).

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Now, these sanctions aren't a done deal yet.

Eight nominations were announced yesterday: "About three months after President Donald Trump abruptly fired about half of the nation's USA attorneys, the White House has formally announced replacements for some of the vacancies he created". Those penalties were on top of existing USA sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine, which have damaged Russia's economy but had only limited impact on Putin's behavior.

US senators will consider a bill stipulating the expansion of sanctions against Russian Federation this week.

The president has said he hopes he can forge closer ties with Moscow - a goal unlikely to be met with sanctions in place.

Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russian Federation sanctions, saying he's still reviewing the proposed penalties that Senate Republicans and Democrats agreed upon after lengthy negotiations.

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