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United States congress gets power to restrain Trump on Russian Federation sanctions

17 June 2017

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest US congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 USA presidential election. It also establishes new sanctions against those conducting cyberattacks on behalf of the Russian government as well as supplying arms to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and it allows for sanctions to hit Russia's mining, metals, shipping and railways sectors.

The bill, which also strengthens penalties against Iran, would put into law sanctions that had been imposed by former President Barack Obama and not allow Trump to ease or lift them without congressional review.

The Trump administration has repeatedly downplayed Russian involvement in the election and denied the US intelligence consensus that the Russian interference helped his campaign.

Sanctions are authorized on Russia's mining and shipping sectors as well, and the government is required to study the USA economy's exposure to Russian state-owned enterprises.

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While Donald Trump seems determined to make America best friends with Russian Federation - handing over top secret intelligence and trying to lift sanctions against the country - a almost united Senate is standing in his way.

Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo helped push legislation through the Senate Wednesday to maintain and expand sanctions against the government of Russian Federation.

The vote was 97 to two for the legislation, filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill. US intelligence reports have concluded that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a cyberattack with the intention of boosting Trump's chance to win.

Maryland senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, told TWS that the White House might express some reservations about the bill, but he expected them to support it. "I'm really not in favor of new sanctions against Russian Federation now or new sanctions on Iran", Paul said.

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A senior Russian official responded to the vote saying if the sanctions are approved, Russia will not let them go "unanswered".

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends a joint press conference in Moscow, Russia, on April 12, 2017. Senators made clear that the administration's plans to downgrade the promotion of democracy and the provision of humanitarian aid - both areas of longstanding USA leadership - will face resistance.

"I certainly agree with the sentiment ... that Russian Federation must be held accountable for its meddling in USA elections". Bob Corker (R-TN), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who noted that in many ways it was developed "under the radar" because it was bipartisan in nature.

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