Published: Sun, June 25, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

Senate approves sanctions bill to punish Russian Federation for election meddling

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest USA congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 US presidential election.

Earlier this week, the Senate came together and overwhelmingly passed a bill that would impose new sanctions against Russian Federation and allow Congress to review any attempts by the president to lessen them.

And it would impose new sanctions on "corrupt Russian actors", those implicated in serious human rights abuses or who supply weapons to Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, and people who conduct "malicious cyber activity" on behalf of the Russian state.

The measure would require a green light from Congress in the event sanctions on Russian Federation are relaxed, suspended or terminated.

President Donald Trump appears all but certain to be confronted in coming weeks with a wrenching decision about Russian Federation: whether to veto new, bipartisan sanctions against Moscow, partly for election interference that Trump has said is a fiction created by Democrats.

It was introduced amid an intense focus in the United States capital on relations with Russian Federation and an investigation into whether Mr Trump's associates colluded with Moscow to influence the 2016 election.

SC senator Lindsey Graham has predicted that Trump would ultimately sign the bill - but warned that if he did not, Congress would override his veto. Brown also said the veto-proof vote on the sanctions package should send a strong signal to the White House.

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The two senators who voted against the measure were Republicans Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah). He's sending a top State Department official, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, to St. Petersburg on June 23to work through some "irritants".

At the same time, he also said he doesn't want to preemptively shut down a potentially productive conversation.

"I think the bill is a very, very strong signal to Russian Federation, but it does provide the administration the flexibilities they need to conduct business", Corker told reporters.

If the legislation passes the House, it would head to Trump for signing.

This bill still must go to the House for consideration; it's not clear whether it will be advanced by GOP leaders there, as the Trump Administration is not pleased with some of the details.

In announcing the deal, the four senators cited Russia's meddling with last year's election, as well as its actions in Ukraine and Syria.

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