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Shooting aftermath at Capitol: House mourns, Senate votes

The U.S. Senate voted almost unanimously earlier this week for legislation to impose new sanctions on Moscow and force President Donald Trump to get Congress’ approval before easing any existing sanctions.The Senate voted Wednesday, 97-2, to pass a measure that would toughen sanctions on Russian Federation and would prevent the White House from unilaterally removing the sanctions imposed by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama in 2014 and 2016.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. It also creates a congressional review process if the executive branch eases current sanctions.U.S. senators have voted overwhelmingly to impose fresh sanctions on Russian Federation over its alleged interference in last year’s election.Senate approval of the bill comes more than five months after US intelligence agencies said Moscow meddled in the 2016 election.However, they could not predict if it would come up for a final vote before lawmakers leave Washington at the end of July for their summer recess.During the hearing Wednesday, Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson urged senators to oppose the measure so that Trump and his administration would have “the flexibility to turn the heat up” if necessary.The initial Iran bill imposes sanctions on any foreign person or foreign entity that does business with an entity already designated by the administration that has a connection to Iran’s ballistic missile program.Mr. Schumer said Mr. Trump has been “far too eager” to float the idea of sanctions relief with Russian Federation and that the point of the amendment was to take the decision out of the executive’s hands. Brown also said the veto-proof vote on the sanctions package should send a strong signal to the White House. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rand Paul of Kentucky were the only votes against the bill.”Today, the Senate has finally confronted Russian Federation for interfering in our elections”. The White House has taken no formal position on the bill, otherwise.”I’m concerned about it, but I don’t really have the ability to dictate what the White House says to the House”, Virginia Sen.USA intelligence chiefs have concluded that Russian Federation orchestrated a campaign to undermine the American election process that included espionage and cyber-attacks, as a means to tilt the vote in Trump’s favor.”But in the last eight months, what price has Russian Federation paid for attacking American democracy?” said McCain, who also faulted Congress for not moving more quickly.