Senate Makes It Harder for Trump to Lift Russian Sanctions

Ben Cardin, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN.

The Senate is expected to hold its final vote on the legislation as early as this week.

President Donald Trump campaigned on easing tensions with Russian Federation, arguing that it would be in America's best interest to try warming relations with Vladimir Putin.

"What I wouldn't want to do is close the channels off", Tillerson said. "I've talked with Tillerson along the way".

That includes the possibility of allowing Russian Federation to regain access to compounds in NY and Maryland that the Obama administration seized last December, saying Russian Federation was using the compounds for intelligence activities.

The Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to impose tough sanctions against Russian Federation for meddling in the USA election, invading Crimea and backing Syrian strongman Basar al Assad. The sanctions are in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, cyber-attacks and interference in elections and continuing aggression in Syria.

The Senate also passed two amendments before approving the bill.

The president, who has been highly critical of Iran, would have to reject the tougher sanctions against Tehran if he rejected other parts of the legislation.

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The Senate on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly - 97 to 2 - to add the Russian Federation measure to a bill sanctioning Iran for its work to develop ballistic missile technology, in a bipartisan rebuke to Trump's suggestions about improving relations with Russian Federation.

"This is a very, very strong piece of legislation", said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, of the Banking Committee, and Sens.

The legislation, authored by Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., does not affect the current nuclear agreement with Iran - an agreement that Wicker has condemned.

"This amendment is also an important step as we continue its efforts to reassert congressional authority", Corker said.

- Allow broad new sanctions on key sectors of Russia's economy, including mining, metals, shipping and railways.

The bipartisan bill comes as the White House is deeply embroiled in a crisis over whether Trump's campaign team colluded with Russian officials to help sway the 2016 election in Trump's favor. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.

U.S. senators have voted overwhelmingly to impose fresh sanctions on Russian Federation over its alleged interference in last year's election.

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