Republican and Democrat Senate leaders agreed to tough new sanctions on Russia – including limiting Trump’s power to lift them. More on this below.
The measure will be attached to legislation imposing new sanctions on Iran, targeting individuals involved in its legitimate ballistic missile program, US businesses and individuals aiding it, along with the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps.
In late May, bipartisan Banking Committee members announced their intention to strengthen US sanctions on Russia for its (legal) actions in Ukraine and Syria, as well as (nonexistent) interference in last year’s presidential election.
The Senate measure sure to pass both houses by a veto-proof margin was agreed to Monday night.
Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker (R. TN) said “(i)t really touches all the components” – targeting Russia’s intelligence and defense apparatus, its energy, mining, railways and shipping industries, along with Russian officials wrongfully accused of corruption and human rights abuses.
Asked if Trump intends supporting the new measure, Corker said “I have to believe that the administration has to at least strongly consider” it – adding he’s sure it’ll be veto-proof.
A bipartisan statement said “(t)he amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill maintains and substantially expands sanctions against the government of Russia in response to the violation of the territorial integrity of the Ukraine and Crimea, its brazen cyberattacks and interference in elections, and its continuing aggression in Syria.”
Fact: There’s not a shred of truth in any of these accusations. Targeting Russia and Iran irresponsibly is part of longstanding US bashing of both countries – for their sovereign independence and resistance to Washington’s imperial agenda.
Last week, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Trump administration “is committed to existing sanctions against Russia.” They’ll remain “until Moscow fully honors its commitments to resolve the crisis in Ukraine.”
The new Senate measure greatly constrains Trump’s power to lift sanctions on Russia – by executive order or other presidential actions.
It empowers Congress to review and block any future administration decision to remove any or all sanctions – making it virtually impossible to happen.
It gives Congress 30 days to respond to any executive actions pertaining to lifting them – 60 days when its members are in recess.
It codifies sanctions on Russia imposed by Obama’s executive orders, while letting Trump impose new ones on its economy.
The measure hardens US hostility toward Russia and Iran. Last month, White House National Economic Council director Gary Cohn said “we could probably look to get tougher” on Russia.