Senate Votes to Punish Russia for Election Meddling

Senate passes new Russian sanctions by 98-2 vote
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2017 3:54 PM CDT
Senate Makes It Harder for Trump to Lift Russian Sanctions
The Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill Thursday that would severely limit President Trump's ability to lift Russian sanctions.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Both sides of the aisle came together in the Senate on Thursday to overwhelmingly pass legislation that puts new sanctions on Russia while limiting President Trump's ability to remove them, the Hill reports. "Any idea of the president that he can lift sanctions on his own for whatever reason are dashed by this legislation," CNN quotes Sen. Chuck Schumer as saying. The legislation, which was passed by a 98-2 vote, seeks to punish Russia for its meddling in the US election and actions in Ukraine and Syria. NBC News reports the sanctions target Russian individuals who give weapons to the Assad regime, violate human rights, or are involved in the defense and intelligence industries. They also target Russia's shipping, mining, and railway industries.

If the legislation passes the House, it would head to Trump for signing. The White House hasn't weighed in on the legislation but says it's "committed" to the existing Russian sanctions. The Trump administration had considered lifting Russian sanctions in the past, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson opposed the new legislation, worrying it could hurt the US' ability to have a "constructive dialogue" with Russia. Regardless, GOP senators believe Trump would sign it, with Sen. Bob Corker saying: "Look, this bill is going to become law." The two dissenting votes were Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Sanders says he's worried the legislation, which also includes sanctions against Iran, could hurt the Iranian nuclear deal. (Read more Russian sanctions stories.)

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