As penalty for ‘election-meddling’, US Senate approves new Russian Federation sanctions
The measure flew in the face of President Donald Trump-who has both steadfastly called for better relations with Moscow and denied it had meddled in the election that saw him rise to power last year-now faces a hard decision on whether or not to sign the bill.
Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, ticked off a series of Russian aggressions that he said have gone without retaliation: annexation of Crimea, intervention in Syria, meddling in Ukraine and threatening North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries, as well as the USA election interference.
In addition to Russia’s cyberattacks, the tightened sanctions were labeled a response to Russia’s violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and its role in Syria.
Anyone who has hoped that the relations between the United States and Russian Federation would improve significantly under the Trump administration, can lock their hopes behind closed doors and throw the key away.
During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have “the flexibility to turn the heat up” if necessary.
In addition, within 180 days after the introduction of amendments, the head of the U.S. Treasury Department must submit a report on the possible consequences of extending sanctions on Russia’s sovereign debt to the Congress.
The 97-2 vote approved an amendment to add the Russian Federation sanctions to a broader bill originally drafted to pass sanctions against Iran. So the White House would have to reject stricter punishments against Iran, which it favors, in order to derail the parts of the legislation it may object to. Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul voted against the amendment.
The Senate on June 15 voted 98-2 to pass the legislation, which will now be sent to the House of Representatives for approval before being sent to Trump for his signature.
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. “I’m really not in favor of new sanctions against Russian Federation now or new sanctions on Iran”, Paul said.
The discussions gathered steam late last month after Sen.
“This is a very comprehensive piece of legislation”, Corker said Monday night after the measures were introduced.
President Trump and Moscow have always denied any collusion. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe. The new sanctions are meant to punish Russian Federation for its role in the fighting in Syria and for interfering in the 2016 election.