Trump Administration trying to 'weaken' and 'dilute' bipartisan Russian sanctions


Republicans Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the only "no" votes.

The bill still needs to pass the House and be signed by Trump into law.

The provision also would require congressional review if the White House decides to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions already in place. For one, new sanctions would be imposed on those linked to "malicious cyber activity" or Russian intelligence or defense services and even for allocating weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government. The new sanctions are meant to punish Russian Federation for its role in the fighting in Syria and for interfering in the 2016 election.

"Democrats and Republicans are joining together to warn the president he can not lift sanctions without our approval", said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The Iran bill, including the Russian Federation sanctions amendment, was expected to pass the Senate on Thursday or later on Wednesday.

On the Iran sanctions, despite some opposition from a few officials in the Obama Administration, the plan focuses extra sanctions on Iranian support for terrorism, human rights abuses, and most importantly the work on a ballistic missile program.

Despite the overwhelming vote, the Russian Federation sanctions package was no sure thing.

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But in a Senate panel Tuesday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned against passing a measure, saying it would make it more hard to improve U.S.

The Senate signalled it's ready to expand sanctions against Russian Federation amid a probe into its meddling in the U.S. presidential election, and to let Congress review any move by President Donald Trump to lift existing penalties.

Should Trump reject the new sanctions, the measures backers say that there will be enough congressional support to override the veto, AP reported.

"I called over myself yesterday and just shared some thoughts with them".

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-author of the bill, said he's been updating the State Department. "I've talked with Tillerson along the way". The Senate is considering the bill this week. Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said at the time that the measure was styled after 2015 legislation pushed by Republicans and approved overwhelmingly in the Senate that gave Congress a vote on whether Obama could lift sanctions against Iran.

"It's time to respond to Russia's attack on American democracy with strength, with resolve, with common goal, and with action", said Republican Senator John McCain.

Trump announced at a news conference last week that he would support Article 5 after he failed to mention it in a speech at North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters last month.