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Senate approves new sanctions over Russia’s meddling in U.S. election

Senators on Wednesday passed the bipartisan sanctions legislation 97-2, underscoring broad support among Republicans and Democrats for rebuking Russian Federation after USA intelligence agencies determined Moscow had deliberately interfered in the presidential campaign.”Today the United States Senate is asserting its responsibilities as it relates to foreign policy”, Corker added on the Senate floor. The legislation also curbs President Trump’s power to unilaterally remove sanctions on Russian Federation without congressional approval. It’s attached as an amendment to an Iran sanctions bill.The Russian provisions would add people involved in the alleged Russian hacking attacks on the U.S. election to the sanctions list and impose penalties for delivery of weapons to the Syrian regime, hitting areas of the Russian economy such as mining and the energy sector.Many GOP senators applauded the measure as a way to penalize Russian Federation for attacking American democracy.The measure flew in the face of President Donald Trump-who has both steadfastly called for better relations with Moscow and denied it had meddled in the election that saw him rise to power last year-now faces a hard decision on whether or not to sign the bill.The bipartisan support for the year’s most significant GOP-backed limitation on Trump comes as the White House remains silent on the plan to sanction Moscow, even as President Putin pushes back at US intelligence officials’ conclusion that Russian actors conducted cyberattacks to disrupt the 2016 presidential election. The amendment was crafted by Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tennessee), Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).The measure calls for strengthening current sanctions and imposing new ones on a broad range of people, including Russians engaged in corruption, individuals responsible for human rights abuses and anyone supplying weapons to the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.The vote was overshadowed by Wednesday’s shooting at a congressional Republican baseball practice – two senators were there, Rand Paul and Jeff Flake of Arizona – but the Senate kept on its schedule, and the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the week.Other sanctions have been introduced for the country’s alleged interference in the USA presidential election.The measure would then apply new sanctions against Russian Federation for its activities in Syria, where the Kremlin is supporting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and for its meddling in last year’s US presidential election.