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US Congressional committee proposes waiver for India from Russia sanctions

27 July 2018

"There has never been a president as tough on Russian Federation as I have been", Trump said last Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting at the White House.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the Kremlin had formally turned down the White House behind the scenes or whether the USA made a decision to foreclose its offer before getting an official answer from Moscow.

Many members of Congress had objected to the two leaders meeting again in the fall and said Putin would not be welcome on Capitol Hill.

US senators Lindsey Graham (Republican) and Bob Menendez (a Democrat) announced on Tuesday, July 24, that are working on comprehensive legislation that will increase sanctions pressure on Russian Federation and will strengthen the capacity of the government of the United States. Pressed on the point during the news conference in Helsinki, Trump said both the US and Russian Federation were to blame for the nadir in relations.

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Democrats are seeking to take control of the House of Representatives and Senate in the November elections from the Republicans. At a press conference in Helsinki last week, President Putin told the world that he wanted Trump to win, saying, "Yes, I did, because he was the one who wanted to normalize relations with Russian Federation".

The bill also includes the creation of the national center for response to threats posed by Russian Federation and the division for coordination of sanctions with the U.S. Department of state.

Jeff Smith, a south Asia expert at The Heritage Foundation, said the changes were a "meaningful and positive step forward". The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30 pm and will feature testimony from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on President Trump's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Last Thursday, Rubio and Van Hollen, noting the "urgency of the challenge before our nation", wrote to the chairmen of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations committees pressing them to hold hearings on the legislation before the start of an early August recess. Congressional sources said last week that U.S oil and gas firms were lobbying against the tighter sanctions that could affect their investments in Russian Federation.

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Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina criticized Trump directly. He states often that Russian meddling in USA elections is fake news.

At the same time, Big Tech observers and others have suggested they don't detect the same kind of surge taking place this year as they did in 2016.

Unlike the existing version of the act, the proposed modified waiver requires presidential certifications created to protect USA alliances, military operations, and sensitive technology, said a statement issued by the Senate Armed Services Committee after the two committees announced details of the conference report.

"As far as bilateral relations are concerned, I fully agree with [the US Ambassador to the United Nations] Nikki Haley's statement that we are not friends".

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US Congressional committee proposes waiver for India from Russia sanctions