Senate Passes New Russian Sanctions Bill That Would Curb Trump's Power

Pauline Gross
June 19, 2017

The measure has been attached to a bill imposing penalties on Iran that the Senate is now debating and also has strong support.

The measure covers new sanctions on Russia's mining, energy, metals, railways and shipping projects as well as punitive actions against Russian cyber threat actors and the country's involvement in weapons delivery to Syrian government.

It also allows Congress to review any administration attempts to ease, suspend or end sanctions.

The White House has not said if Trump would sign or veto the legislation, which would have to be passed by the House of Representatives before it could go to the president's desk.

The Senate legislation imposes sanctions on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile program and anyone who does business with them.

The investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 United States election took another turn, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

Tillerson was noncommittal about a package of new Russian Federation sanctions during testimony Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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The addition of Russian sanctions to the bill was a rebuke to the president because it would prohibit the president from being able to lift them without Congressional approval.

The Senate adopted amendment #232 as modified (Russia sanctions) to S. 722, Iran Sanctions, 97-2.

It was introduced amid an intense focus in the USA capital on relations with Russian Federation, and investigations by the Department of Justice and congressional committees of whether Russian Federation sought to influence the 2016 U.S. elections to help elect Trump, and whether Trump associates colluded with Moscow as it sought to influence the election.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he believes the new sanctions "complicate the Russian-American relationship", essentially echoing the sentiment expressed by the administration.

"I'm concerned about it, but I don't really have the ability to dictate what the White House says to the House", Virginia Sen. The libertarian-minded Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) was the only other "no" vote against the bill.

The Senate-passed sanctions bill also converts existing penalties against Moscow into law, potentially making them more hard to remove, and prevents the Trump administration from returning two Russian diplomatic compounds seized in December by the Obama administration as punishment for alleged electoral disruption. The administration said Russia had been using the facilities for intelligence gathering; when they were shuttered, 35 Russian operatives were also expelled from the country.

Under the legislation, new sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in "malicious cyber activity".

Other reports by GizPress

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