emfizz.com July 25, 2017

Senate votes to sanction Russian Federation for election meddling

26 June 2017, 03:58 | Gladys Abbott

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest USA congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

Monday's agreement, to be filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions Bill, is meant to punish Russian Federation over issues including its alleged meddling in the USA election last year, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country's six-year civil war. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, would escalate and expand current sanctions against Russian Federation, in response to Russia's "violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea", its "brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections", and its "continuing 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.

It's not clear how the pitch would be received by House Republicans, but Politico added the administration official says the White House is "confident it has allies in the House" who do not like limiting the president's powers.

These sanctions have been added to a bill - under debate and nearly certain to win passage - aimed at toughening sanctions against Iran for what the bill calls its support of worldwide terrorist acts.

Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump has been "far too eager" to float the idea of sanctions relief with Russian Federation and that the point of the amendment was to take the decision out of the executive's hands.

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Earlier, Trump has indicated he is skeptical about additional sanctions and has been dismissive about the role of Russian interference in the US elections. "We experience it firsthand", Cardin told a group of journalists Monday before announcing an agreement on the amendment with the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and colleagues from the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated Tuesday he believes a move to further isolate the Kremlin flies in the face of the administration's attempts re-establish ties and work with Moscow on Syria and the Ukraine. If it passes the House, Trump could either veto the bill even though a Senate override would be likely, or sign it into law.

A procedural vote on the Russian Federation sanctions is expected Wednesday, and the measure is expected to get strong bipartisan support.

Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul, (R-KY) were the no votes. "What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off". "I think we struck a very good balance".

Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee said in a statement that the vote sent 'a strong signal to President Putin while ensuring the Trump administration has the flexibility it needs'. Those penalties were on top of existing US sanctions over Russia's actions in Ukraine, which have damaged Russia's economy but had only limited impact on Putin's behavior.

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