News compilation by New Cold War.org, July 26, 2017
U.S. House decisively votes to approve new sanctions against Russia
[House bill is expected to obtain quick approval in Senate; sanctions against North Korea may be treated seperately and later by Senate.]
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted on Tuesday to approve new sanctions on Russia, setting up a potential showdown with the White House. By a 419-3 vote, the House approved a bill to that would levy new sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea. It combines new measures targeting Russia for its interference in the 2016 election, as well as provisions intended to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and Iranian militarism.
Only three libertarian-leaning Republicans – Justin Amash of Michigan, Tom Massie of Kentucky and Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee – voted against the bill in the House.
The bill had been bogged down in controversy in recent weeks over objections from the Trump administration. The White House has been opposed to a provision in the bill that requires congressional approval for any attempt by the president to lift the sanctions on Russia.
An earlier Senate version of the bill passed 98-2, but was only aimed at Russia and Iran. It did not include the measures against North Korea, which are now in the House bill. The latest bill must now return to the Senate, where it is expected to pass easily, before it is sent to Trump.
Despite the White House’s opposition to the bill, it is likely to become law. Even if Trump decides to veto the legislation, it has already passed both chambers by veto-proof margins.
In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “while the President supports tough sanctions on North Korea, Iran and Russia, the White House is reviewing the House legislation and awaits a final legislative package for the President’s desk”.
The legislation passed the House the same day Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, spoke to the House intelligence committee about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. Russian interference in the 2016 election is the subject of multiple investigations – including one by special counsel Robert Mueller – as well as committees on Capitol Hill, and questions have been raised in particular about allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The White House has vigorously denied the suggestion that there was any collusion and has repeatedly called the investigations into Russia’s role in the election “a witch hunt”.
Moscow to frame stance on new sanctions once U.S. bill becomes law
TASS, July 26, 2017
The Kremlin will remain mum on the fresh round of U.S. sanctions until they become law, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday commenting on a U.S. bill seeking to tighten individual sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, approved by the House of Representatives on July 25.
Before the bill becomes law it must also be passed by the Senate and then signed by President Donald Trump. “So far we are speaking about a bill and we are not going to make any substantive assessments. “The attitude to this will be formulated after a thorough analysis and a certain decision will be made by the head of state, President Vladimir Putin,” Peskov said.
“As the Senate’s further say is expected, let us wait for this bill to become law,” he added. At the same time, the Kremlin views is dismayed by the U.S. House of Representatives’ vote on the bill to tighten sanctions against Russia.
“Now one can say that the news is rather sad from the standpoint of Russian-U.S. relations and their future. It is no less dismaying in terms of international law and international trade relations,” the spokesman told the media.
He added that his comments were based “on the information about the bill available to us.”
Replying to a comment on a statement by Chairman of the of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, urging a tit-for-tat response to the new sanctions, Peskov said “decisions in the foreign policy sphere are made by the Russian president’.
“If and when such decisions are made, we will inform you. All the other statements from our parliamentarians are clear and understandable. We are speaking about extremely unfriendly manifestations, and that is why the reaction is obvious,” he added.
The U.S. House of Representatives passes bill to toughen unilateral U.S. sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea, TASS, July 25, 2017
‘America first doesn’t mean Europe last’ – EU lashes out at U.S. sanctions against Russia [because sanctions could harm the EU] , RT.com, July 26, 2017
EU diplomats move to slap more sanctions on Russia over claims that Siemens turbines were installed in Crimea, TASS, July 26, 2017
Berlin preparing common European response to Siemens turbines supplies to Crimea, TASS, July 25, 2017
Russia warns of ‘painful’ response if Trump backs U.S. sanctions, Bloomberg News, July 26, 2017