U.S. senators reached an agreement on Monday on legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia, including a provision that would prevent the White House from easing, suspending or ending sanctions without congressional approval.
Partisan acrimony in Washington giving way to bipartisan agreement on new U.S. sanctions on Russia. U.S. senators on Monday night introducing a provision meant to punish Moscow for its alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election, its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and for support for the government of Syria. And another thing: the bill would prevent the White House from easing, suspending, or ending the sanctions without Congressional approval. The amendment imposes new sanctions on Russian individuals found to be guilty of human rights abuses, supplying weapons to the Syrian regime, and who conduct cyber attacks on behalf of Russia's government. The provision introduced amid intense focus in the U.S. on Moscow, and a flurry of revelations about undisclosed ties between senior White House advisers and Russian officials. Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was fired after lying about his contacts with Russia's U.S. ambassador. He reportedly discussed U.S. sanctions with the diplomat. And Reuters reported in May that U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner had several previously undisclosed meetings with the same U.S. envoy, and with a representative of a Russian bank. A special prosecutor is currently looking into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the race for the White House. Russia has denied interfering in the U.S. election, and Trump has dismissed talk of collusion. The president has said he hopes he can forge closer ties with Moscow - a goal unlikely to be met with sanctions in place. The new sanctions are included as an amendment to a bill sanctioning Iran for its ballistic missile program. The legislation is expected to easily pass the Senate. From there it will move to the House of Representatives, and then require the president's signature to become law.