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US Senate approves sanctions against Russian Federation over 2016 election

19 June 2017

"Russia is still associated with Trump, with the mechanics of his election".

To make it even harder for U.S. President Donald Trump, who had been seeking rapprochement with Russia for months, to reject the new Russia sanctions, the Senate also attached the new Russia sanctions to a bill imposing sanctions on Iran.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly for an amendment limiting the Trump administration's ability to unilaterally ease sanctions on Russian Federation.

The White House has not said if Trump would sign or veto the legislation, which would have to be passed by the House of Representatives before it could go to the president's desk.

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Adopted overwhelmingly as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill, the measure targets Russia's cyber espionage entities, energy sector, financial interests, and the flow of Russian weaponry to war zones like Syria.

The Senate was almost unanimous on Thursday passing a bill that would slap Russian Federation with new sanctions and give Congress the power to review any White House attempts to roll them back.

The Senate voted 98 to 2, today, to pass the underlying Iran sanctions legislation as amended. The bill also mandates sanctions for individuals involved with Iran's ballistic missile endeavors.

The bill would also impose sanctions on Iran with regard to its ballistic missile activities that are not linked to the nuclear agreement the Arab country signed with the US and other countries.

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The two senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah).

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, said the amendment was also meant to recover from President Obama's term, when he circumvented Congress and used executive powers to try to shape sanctions.

Sen. Sherrod Brown of OH, the top Democrat on the Banking Committee, said Trump's failure to act could embolden Russian Federation and lead to interference in future USA elections. Indeed, the bill requires a congressional review if the president attempts to ease or end sanctions against Moscow, according to the Associated Press. House aides said they expected the chamber would begin to debate the measure in the coming weeks, although they could not predict when it might face a final vote.

The measure would then apply new sanctions against Russian Federation for its activities in Syria, where the Kremlin is supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and for its meddling in last year's USA presidential election.

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