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Senate approves new sanctions over Russia’s meddling in United States election

The new sanctions, passed by a 98-2 vote, was also so far one of the strongest US congressional responses to alleged Russian meddling of the 2016 USA presidential election.The Senate was almost unanimous on Thursday passing a bill that would slap Russian Federation with new sanctions and give Congress the power to review any White House attempts to roll them back.To make it even harder for U.S. President Donald Trump, who had been seeking rapprochement with Russia for months, to reject the new Russia sanctions, the Senate also attached the new Russia sanctions to a bill imposing sanctions on Iran.The measure would require a green light from Congress in the event sanctions on Russian Federation are relaxed, suspended or terminated.”With overwhelming Senate passage of the Russian Federation sanctions amendment, the United States sends a strong signal to President Putin while ensuring the Trump administration has the flexibility it needs”, said Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.Top lawmakers on two Senate committees – Banking and Foreign Relations – announced the sanctions deal late Monday amid the firestorm over Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and investigations into Moscow’s possible collusion with members of President Donald Trump’s campaign.The second reaffirmed “the strategic importance of Article 5″ in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the principle that an attack on one North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member is an attack on all members of the alliance.But Tillerson also said his mandate is to try to improve US relations with Russian Federation in ways that would benefit the United States, and he suggested that the new penalties may get in the way.The vote was on a procedural motion to attach the Russian sanctions provisions to a larger package of Iran sanctions that also has bipartisan support.However, aides in both the Senate and the House said they expected support for the bill would be strong enough to override a Trump veto if necessary. “These additional sanctions will also send a powerful and bipartisan statement to Russian Federation and any other country who might try to interfere in our elections that they will be punished”. Tillerson had asked for some time to try and change the direction of U.S. -Russia relations before Congress levied new sanctions on the Kremlin.If the Trump administration decides to oppose the new sanctions, they could be in a bind.Senators Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) voted against the amendment, while Chris Van Hollen (D-Maryland) abstained.The sanctions would codify existing economic restrictions and place new ones in an effort to economically harm specific individuals and Russia’s economy.