The US Senate is aiming to punish Russia's Vladimir Putin for interfering in last year's presidential election by drafting sanctions that would prevent President Donald Trump from unilaterally easing pressure on Moscow.
Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on foreign relations, expressed confidence Monday that Trump would sign off on it.
Under the legislation, new sanctions could be levied on entities engaging in "malicious cyber activity".
Republican leadership may find the continuing probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation an overblown obstacle, but that didn't stop a majority of Senate Republicans from joining with Democrats in Trump-proofing the latest round of USA sanctions against Russian Federation.
The amendment would sanction Russian Federation for a variety of unlawful actions, including the annexation of Crimea and military aggression in eastern Ukraine and military involvement in Syria, as well as attempts to interfere with and influence the USA 2016 presidential election. But changed his standing last month when he said he needed to see progress with Russian Federation or else sanction measures will be proposed by his panel.
Senator Corker's Iran sanctions bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in May by a vote of 18 to 3 and now has 60 cosponsors. The measures would target key sectors of the Russian economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways. "These additional sanctions will also send a powerful, bipartisan statement that Russian Federation and any other nation who might try to interfere with our elections will be punished".
Russia has repeatedly denied any interference in the USA election and says the "Russian" rhetoric is there as a result of an open battle between the new Government on one side and the "media" and the shadow unelected Government who is imposing its will on elected officials. He argued at the time that the US seemed more concerned about Russia's military activity in Ukraine than neighboring nations or Europe were.
The Trump administration is reviewing the Senate measure, according to a White House official, who asked for anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The 97-2 vote approved an amendment to add the Russian Federation sanctions to a broader bill originally drafted to pass sanctions against Iran. He further expressed confidence about the Trump administration support on the proposed law.
The provision also would require congressional review if the White House decides to relax, suspend or terminate sanctions already in place.
'For too long, the message to Vladimir Putin has been that Russia can invade its neighbors, threaten U.S. allies, intensify its cyberattacks, and interfere with foreign elections with very little repercussion, ' said Senator John McCain, a strident critic of the Russian leader.