Senate approves new sanctions over Russia's meddling in United States election


The measure also included language toughening sanctions against Russian Federation in the wake of their accused efforts to influence the outcome of the 2016 election, converting some of the penalties put in place by former President Barack Obama's administration into law, and forbidding Trump from weakening existing Russian Federation sanctions without first seeking Senate approval. However, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson seemed to push back at the legislation Wednesday at a House hearing.

On Wednesday, the US Senate voted in favor of new sanctions against Russian Federation over its alleged interference in the US presidential election in 2016, the allegation which Moscow strongly denies.

The agreement has also established a process for the Congress to review any attempt by Presidnent Donald Trump to relax, suspend or terminate the sanctions.

The US Senate has overwhelmingly passed an amendment to strengthen and expand the current sanctions against Russian Federation, sending a "strong" signal to President Vladimir Putin over territorial violation in Crimea, alleged meddling in elections and aggression in Syria.

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The only two "no" votes on the Russian Federation bill were from Republican Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul.

The White House stressed that it is committed to the existing Russian sanctions regime that it believes is best suited to address United States concerns and would keep sanctions in place until Russia resolves the situation in Ukraine.

Idaho Republican Senator Mike Crapo helped push legislation through the Senate Wednesday to maintain and expand sanctions against the government of Russian Federation.

"I'm concerned about it, but I don't really have the ability to dictate what the White House says to the House", Virginia Sen.

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If passed in the House of Representatives and signed into law by Trump, it would put into law sanctions previously established via former President Barack Obama's executive orders, including some on Russian energy projects.

Sen. Bob Corker, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the bill was an effort for Congress to regain some control of USA foreign policy.

The Russia amendment was part of a larger measure that targets Iran for sanctions over its ballistic missile program, human rights violations, and other issues.

The investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 USA election took another turn, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

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