ND congressional delegation divided over Russian sanctions

Senate rejects resolution to block President Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia

Senate rejects resolution to block President Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia

In what was an effective rebuke of President Donald Trump, 136 Republicans broke ranks and voted with House Democrats to oppose the plan.

The Administration should maintain the current USA sanctions regime against Russia and Russian entities - and to impose new sanctions as necessary and merited by Russian behavior -unless Ukraine's control over Crimea is restored, Russia fully respects the Minsk agreements, and ceases all efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty.

Plans to remove the sanctions are not politically motivated, but were negotiated with the assistance of longtime civil servants at Treasury, Mnuchin told reporters Tuesday after meeting with Senate Republicans.

"The Treasury Department - in conjunction with the State Department and our European allies, and with the right to further impose sanctions if necessary - followed the rule of law as written by letting the Russian company that met the legal qualifications have these sanctions lifted", Cramer said in a statement Thursday morning.

In a 362-53 vote, the House sounded its disapproval of the lifting of sanctions, with 130 Republicans breaking with Trump and backing the Democratic measure.

Mnuchin had lobbied GOP senators to vote against Schumer's resolution.

Treasury said it was prepared to lift the company sanctions because Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership below 50 percent.

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Democrats are questioning the administration's motives at a time when Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible connections to Trump's campaign.

On the Russian sanctions, at issue is a December announcement from the Treasury Department that the US would lift financial penalties on the companies linked to Deripaska -Russian aluminum manufacturing giant Rusal, EN+ Group and the Russian power company JSC EuroSibEnergo.

The Treasury Department's decision to accommodate Deripaska has drawn criticism in part because the oligarch has had longstanding ties to Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort. "Deripaska has been Putin's main man in the private sector and the USA should hold his feet to the fire without showing any mercy", Browder told Newsweek. Mr. Deripaska's companies waged an aggressive lobbying and legal campaign against the sanctions previous year.

The reduced role would protect the companies "from the controlling influence of a Kremlin insider", Treasury claimed.

"President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama did not take seriously enough the threat from Russia", Cotton said.

The two Saudi measures were never considered by the House, then led by Republicans, and expired at the end of the congressional session. Russian Federation has denied it meddled, and Trump has said there was no collusion.

Treasury has warned that keeping the sanctions in place could upset global aluminum markets or even prompt the Russian government to nationalize the company, thus shutting it out from any outside control.

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