Russia Sanctions Bill Clears the Senate With Bipartisan Vote

Trevor Jackson
July 30, 2017

The Senate on Thursday approved sweeping sanctions against Russia, forcing President Donald Trump to decide whether to accept a tougher line against Moscow or issue a politically explosive veto amid investigations into ties between his presidential campaign and Russian officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly denied the conclusions of USA intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered using cyber warfare methods, has threatened retaliation against the legislation.

Putin said a lot of Russian diplomats had been expelled "without any particular reason" - a reference to sanctions imposed by President Barack Obama in December for Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 United States election - and said there had also been problems in business "which had no foundation at all".

The strong bipartisan support for the bill was a sharp contrast to the bitter partisan rancor during debate over how to overhaul the United States healthcare system.

The House has already passed the bill with a vote of 419-3.

"This is the rationale and the standard for our European sanctions, no more, but not less", he said. Trump denies any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin had warned on Thursday that Russian Federation would have to retaliate against what he called boorish United States behaviour.

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Russian Federation had been threatening retaliation for weeks. "And it would take new steps to tighten those sanctions", McCain said on the Senate floor.

"The administration supports sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea".

The package also imposes mandatory penalties on people involved in Iran's ballistic missile programme and anyone who does business with them. The measure would apply terrorism sanctions to the country's Revolutionary Guards and enforce an arms embargo. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said in a statement: "I am pleased the Senate has acted overwhelmingly to give the administration much-needed economic and political leverage to address threats from Iran, Russia, and North Korea".

Commentators said then that the unexpected move by Putin put Trump at a disadvantage even as it sidelined the Obama administration in its dying days.

The White House said it would comment on the sanctions bill when they get it and have a chance to review it. Trump has privately expressed frustration over Congress' ability to limit or override the power of the White House on national security matters, saying that it is complicating efforts to coordinate with allies - particularly those in Europe that have taken a different approach to sanctions.

Moscow's latest move comes a day after the U.S. Senate passed sweeping legislation slapping new sanctions on Russian Federation - over its alleged interference in the 2016 USA election, annexation of Crimea and military operations in eastern Ukraine - and limiting President Donald Trump's ability to remove them.

While Putin had faced pressure to move against the US ever since the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats and seized two of the country's compounds in late December in retaliation for the election meddling, the Russian president had held off. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, allegedly discussed the possibility of easing sanctions before the new administration even took office and was ousted for failing to disclose that to Vice President Mike Pence.

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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