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US Senate Overwhelmingly Backs Stronger Sanctions Against Russia, Iran
26 June 2017, 03:59 | Laverne Osborne
These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election. But it's important, he stressed, that President Donald Trump have the flexibility "to turn the heat up" on Russian Federation if necessary.
The vote to strengthen sanctions against Russia - which Senators on both parties made clear was created to send a message on Russian meddling in the 2016 elections - came hours after President Donald Trump had again mocked the investigation surrounding those charges.
The measure is widely seen as a rebuke to Trump, as it hits Russian Federation with new sanctions to punish Moscow for its interference in United States elections, as well as over Moscow's aggression in Ukraine and Syria.
The amendment ensures that Congress has time to review any plans by the Trump administration to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions - some of which were imposed after Russian Federation annexed Crimea in 2014 and supported separatists in Eastern Ukraine, in a conflict that is ongoing.
"First, it stands up to the aggression of Russian Federation and Iran", said Sen. It's attached as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. 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 objects to.
Senators on Wednesday passed the bipartisan sanctions legislation 97-2, underscoring broad support among Republicans and Democrats for rebuking Russian Federation after USA intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the presidential campaign.
On Tuesday, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell moved to set up a final vote as early as this week on the Iran sanctions bill, with senators expected to clear the way for its passage on Wednesday. The legislation was worked out by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel. Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat.
"This amendment is also an important step as we continue our efforts to reassert congressional authority".
The Trump administration is reviewing the Senate measure, according to a White House official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.
The bipartisan support for the year's most significant GOP-backed limitation on Trump comes as the White House remains silent on the plan to sanction Moscow, even as President Putin pushes back at USA intelligence officials' conclusion that Russian actors conducted cyberattacks to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.
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