USA moves step closer to new Russian Federation sanctions

Mikhail Klimentiev  Presidential press service  TASS

The White House Thursday broached the possibility that President Donald Trump could veto new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea, prompting sharp criticism from usa lawmakers of both political parties.

The White House is also said to be particularly concerned over a provision in the new bill which would limit President Trump's ability to lift the sanctions.

Sen. Bob Corker, who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters after the vote that he had spoken to both Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over the last week and had received "no indication whatsoever that they plan to consider a veto".

Some Trump administration officials objected to a provision that would allow Congress the power to veto the president if Mr. Trump tried to ease or lift sanctions on Russian Federation.

This came despite that Trump administration officials had called on lawmakers to grant "flexibility" to the White House in dealing with Russian Federation.

Corker and McCarthy had been feuding over the North Korean portion of the bill, which the House added when it passed the sanctions package 419-3 on Tuesday.

The bill now heads to the Senate before it can be sent to the White House for Trump to sign it into a law.

The bill now moves to the Senate, but it's unclear when the upper chamber will take it up.

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But it did not say directly that Trump would sign the bill.

Mr Manafort met with Senate Intelligence Committee staff on Tuesday morning, his spokesman said.

The bill is the first major foreign policy legislation approved by Congress under Trump, who has struggled to advance his domestic agenda despite Republicans controlling the Senate and House of Representatives.

The 184-page bill serves as a warning to the Kremlin over its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, as well as its support for President Bashar Assad.

In the case of North Korea, the sanctions bar ships owned by the reclusive nation from operating in American waters, while goods produced in the North Korea would be prohibited from entering the US.

He said President Vladimir Putin would decide if and how Moscow would retaliate once the sanctions became law.

The bill still must be passed by the Senate, which is mired in debate over efforts to overhaul the United States healthcare system as politicians try to clear the decks to leave Washington for their summer recess.

The Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that the threat of more sanctions damages both Russian and US interests.

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