The US Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to punish Russian Federation over its alleged election meddling, passing a bill that would bar President Donald Trump from unilaterally easing existing sanctions on Moscow.
We hope this bill, once passed, sends a strong warning to Iran and Russian Federation that the U.S. Congress is keeping a wary eye on the two countries and that the legislative branch expects nothing less from President Trump.
The measure also included language toughening sanctions against Russian Federation in the wake of their accused efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, converting some of the penalties put in place by former President Barack Obama's administration into law, and forbidding Trump from weakening existing Russian Federation sanctions without first seeking Senate approval.
Trump was especially effusive about Russian president Vladimir Putin during the 2016 USA election campaign, though his openness to closer ties to Moscow has tempered somewhat, with his administration on the defensive over investigations into Russian meddling in the election.
"I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions", Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday in an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, one of the Senate bill's cosponsors, told reporters on Wednesday that the White House was already lobbying against the measure, Business Insider reported. Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted against the amendment.
President Trump is expected to meet Mr. Putin for the first time, ahead of G20 meeting.
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Mueller is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
While Donald Trump seems determined to make America best friends with Russian Federation - handing over top secret intelligence and trying to lift sanctions against the country - a almost united Senate is standing in his way.
But administration officials have appeared more cautious about stifling the Kremlin with tough rhetoric and sanctions. The sanctions targeted Russian energy products as well as "mining, metals, shipping and railways and".
It also allows Congress to review any administration attempts to ease, suspend or end sanctions.
This bill still must go to the House for consideration; it's not clear whether it will be advanced by GOP leaders there, as the Trump Administration is not pleased with some of the details.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson anxious about a potential amendment closing off channels to the country, but Tennessee Sen.
Flynn had been misleading about his phone conversations late last December that reportedly included talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, just as then-president Barack Obama was ordering new sanctions on Russia over its alleged election meddling.