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Trump Administration Pushing US House for More Flexible Russian Sanctions Bill

18 Juin 2017

The U.S. Senate voted 98-2 Thursday to approve sweeping sanctions against Russian Federation and make it harder for President Donald Trump to ease punitive measures against Moscow.

A senior Trump administration official has told Politico that the White House will attempt to convince House Republicans to make "administration-friendly changes" to a bipartisan new Senate bill which slaps Russian Federation with Trump-proof sanctions in retaliation for the Kremlin's interference in last year's US presidential election.

The amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and 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, said officials.

The package also would require a congressional review if a president attempts to ease or end current penalties.

Trump was especially effusive about Russian president Vladimir Putin during the 2016 USA election campaign, though his openness to closer ties to Moscow has tempered somewhat, with his administration on the defensive over investigations into Russian meddling in the election.

Specifically, the legislation prohibits the U.S. State Department from returning two Russian diplomatic compounds seized by the Obama administration in response to Russia's election hacking.

The rare bipartisan move was a blow to the Trump administration, which is looking for room to negotiate with Russian Federation. "Any idea of the president that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation", CNN quotes Sen.

Four countries cut links with Qatar over 'terrorism' support
According to Will Horton, an analyst at CAPA Centre for Aviation , Saudi Arabia is Qatar Airways' largest market. The Qatari government said the move "reinforces baseless allegations that hold no foundation in fact".

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.

The only senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee.

Senators voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to write stiff sanctions against Russian Federation into law and to give Congress a say should President Trump try to lift them, making a bipartisan strike against the government of President Vladimir Putin.

In a move that could complicate US President Donald Trump's desire for warmer relations with Moscow, the Senate backed the measure by 98-2.

Since the new anti-Iranian senate bill targets both Tehran and Moscow, its veto by the United States president is possible, he noted.

Now the bill should be considered in the House of Representatives, and then it will be handed over to President Donald Trump for signature.

The new sanctions aim to impose new restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program and to punish Tehran for "supporting terrorism and human rights violations".

Trump Administration Pushing US House for More Flexible Russian Sanctions Bill