Senate approves new Russia sanctions - | Continuous News | Butte, Montana

By a 97-2 vote, the U.S. Senate approved stronger sanctions on Russia Wednesday and took the first step toward limiting President Trump's ability to ease those sanctions.

"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 cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria", said Republicans and Democrats on the committees.

"Senator Corker deserves great credit for crafting legislation that will impose tougher sanctions on Iran-which remains a threat to our national security, Middle East stability, and to Israel, one of our strongest allies-and expands sanctions against Russian Federation, particularly those individuals who tried to obstruct our presidential elections with cyberattacks", Senator Alexander said.

Even the president's staunchest supporters voted in lockstep with his sharpest critics Wednesday to endorse the Russian Federation sanctions measure, applying what Banking Committee chairman Mike Crapo referred to as "a correct amount of pressure" on Russian Federation that will "ensure Congress exerts proper oversight over the use of these powerful sanctions".

The legislation would impose new sanctions against "corrupt Russian actors", "those involved in serious human rights abuses", Russians providing arms to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime or those engaged in cyberattacks on behalf of the government.

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"Today, the Senate has finally confronted Russian Federation for interfering in our elections". Imposing more sanctions could lead the Russians to curtail the dialogue, he said. "For decades, Congress has slowly and irresponsibly ceded its authorities to the executive branch, particularly as it relates to foreign policy", said Senator Corker. "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".

"By codifying existing sanctions and requiring Congressional review of any decision to weaken or lift them, we are ensuring that the United States continues to punish President Putin for his reckless and destabilizing actions", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., of the Foreign Relations panel. That means President Trump would not be able to strike them down as easily as Obama ordered them.

Russia has repeatedly denied any interference in the U.S. 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.

House and Senate committees are investigating Russia's meddling and potential links to the Trump campaign.

But if the Senate's vote is any guide, congressional support for the measure will likely be veto-proof. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.

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