Published: Mon, June 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Senate Makes It Harder for Trump to Lift Russian Sanctions

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

Today's vote was the most significant blow the Republican President has received from the Republican Congress.

A measure codifying into law the United States sanctions against Russian Federation was approved in the Senate by a veto-proof majority of 97 to 2.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said that Moscow views the proposed sanctions “negatively, ” adding that the Russian leadership is “attentively monitoring” the situation. "Pretty good rate of return".

Trump officials have been eager to crack down on Iran's non-nuclear illicit activities, and have squeezed the country with additional sanctions while they conduct a comprehensive Iran policy review. In a series of tweets, Kerry urged lawmakers to "tread carefully" in pushing ahead with new Iran sanctions in the wake of President Hassan Rouhani's re-election to another four-year term.

A day earlier, the Senate voted to adopt an amendment to the bill that would expand sanctions against Russia, CBS News reported. The measure also applies terrorism sanctions to Tehran's Revolutionary Guards and requires the enforcement of an arms embargo.

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Russia has repeatedly denied any interference in the USA election and says the "Russian" rhetoric is there as a result of an open battle between the new Government on one side and the "media" and the shadow unelected Government who is imposing its will on elected officials.

Congressional committees and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are examining the Russian interference and whether there was any collusion with Trump's campaign.

Despite Russia's bellicosity, there's been no forceful response from President Donald Trump. Broad new sanctions would be imposed on Russia's mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors.

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The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russian Federation in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyber-attacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria. "I find as we get to the finish line on these bills, every administration generally joins us ... so I think we'll have the support of the administration". Republican Senator Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, were the only two "no" votes.

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