losangelesnewstoday.com February 24, 2018

Senate vote to force Trump's hand on Russian Federation sanctions

29 July 2017, 12:37 | Katrina Lee

AFP COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF Donald Trump may be forced to sign the new law

Donald Trump

In response to the House vote, Putin accused U.S. lawmakers of insolence and said Russian Federation would respond if the U.S. Senate also approves the legislation and President Donald Trump signs it into law.

Earlier this week, the US House of Representatives of the US Congress approved nearly unanimously the draft law to impose new sanctions on Russian Federation, as well as North Korea and Iran.

If Mr Trump chooses to veto it, the bill is expected to garner enough support in both chambers to override his veto and pass it into law. The veto-proof supermajority behind these bills all but insures that they will become the law of the land before long.

The strong bipartisan support for the bill was a sharp contrast to the bitter partisan rancor during debate over how to overhaul the USA healthcare system.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a joint news conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto, derided the move as the latest act of "insolence" directed toward Moscow by Washington stemming from an unfounded "hysteria" reflecting allegations of Russian meddling in US elections.

Putin also argued that "Russian-US relations are being sacrificed to resolve questions of domestic politics", specifying that "in this case, it is the battle between President (Donald) Trump and his political opponents". Investigations into alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia have tied the US president's hands in terms of trying to change policy with Moscow, Russian officials say.

Putin and other Russian officials have repeatedly denied any meddling in the U.S. election, while United States intelligence agencies say they have overwhelming evidence of a coordinated Russian campaign.

Trump's team has argued it needs flexibility to pursue a more collaborative diplomacy with Russian Federation which, by United States intelligence consensus, interfered in last year's presidential election.

Those sanctions were in addition to sanctions imposed on Moscow by the USA, the European Union, and other Western governments since 2014 over Russia's encroachments against Ukraine, namely, the Crimea annexation and the war in Donbass.

The bill, which now heads to the Senate for consideration, would require the president to submit for congressional review any proposed actions to terminate or waive sanctions against Russian Federation. Communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN there's a chance Trump could veto it.

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New US sanctions against Russia are an extremely unfriendly act and "sad news" for Russia-US relations, the Kremlin said on Wednesday.

"The administration supports sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea".

Russia's leader Putin has declared the still to be adopted new sanctions against Russian Federation to be a special kind of "cynicism".

"This bill doesn't preclude him from issuing tougher sanctions".

"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", he said.

"Technologically, this form is practically final", he said.

"As you know, we are behaving very calmly and patiently but we will have to respond at a certain point.

It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country", he reportedly said at a news conference.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman and mouthpiece, said: "The attitude to this (law) will be formed on the basis of a thorough analysis, and the decision (on how to respond) will certainly be taken by the head of state, President Putin".

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