Trump ex­pected to sup­port Rus­sia sanc­tions pack­age

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

WASHINGTON — The White House has in­di­cated that Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump would sign a sweep­ing Rus­sia sanc­tions mea­sure that re­quires him to get Congress’ per­mis­sion be­fore lift­ing or eas­ing the eco­nomic penal­ties against Moscow.

The House was sched­uled to con­sider the sanc­tions pack­age as early as Tues­day, and the bill could be sent to Trump be­fore Congress breaks for the Au­gust re­cess. The leg­is­la­tion is aimed at pun­ish­ing Moscow for al­legedly med­dling in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Sarah San­ders, the newly ap­pointed White House press sec­re­tary, said on Sun­day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion is sup­port­ive of be­ing tough on Rus­sia and “par­tic­u­larly putting these sanc­tions in place”.

“We sup­port where the leg­is­la­tion is now, and will con­tinue to work with the House and Se­nate to put those tough sanc­tions in place on Rus­sia un­til the sit­u­a­tion in Ukraine is fully re­solved,” San­ders said on ABC’s This Week.

Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans and Democrats an­nounced on Satur­day that they’d set­tled lin­ger­ing is­sues with the bill, which also in­cludes stiff eco­nomic penal­ties against Te­heran and Py­ongyang. The sanc­tions tar­get­ing Rus­sia, how­ever, have drawn the most at­ten­tion due to Trump’s per­sis­tent push for warmer re­la­tions with Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin and on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sia’s in­ter­fer­ence in the cam­paign last year.

The White House had ob­jected to a key sec­tion of the bill that would have man­dated a con­gres­sional re­view if Trump attempted to ter­mi­nate the sanc­tions against Moscow.

Ac­cord­ing to the bill, Trump is re­quired to send Congress a re­port ex­plain­ing why he wants to sus­pend or ter­mi­nate a par­tic­u­lar set of sanc­tions. Law­mak­ers would then have 30 days to de­cide whether to al­low the move or re­ject it.

Mean­while, Trump’s sonin-law, Jared Kush­ner, faces two days of closed-door ques­tion­ing from Congress this week as law­mak­ers try to de­ter­mine whether Trump’s cam­paign en­listed Rus­sia’s help to win the White House in last year’s elec­tion.

We sup­port where the leg­is­la­tion is now, and will con­tinue to work ... to put those tough sanc­tions in place on Rus­sia ... ” Sarah San­ders, White House press sec­re­tary

Kush­ner, a se­nior White House ad­viser, was ex­pected to face ques­tions about his con­tacts with Rus­sian cit­i­zens and of­fi­cials when he tes­ti­fies be­fore the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee on Mon­day and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee on Tues­day.

In a state­ment, he said: “I did not col­lude, nor know of any­one else in the cam­paign who col­luded, with any for­eign govern­ment.”

Trump has been dogged by al­le­ga­tions that his cam­paign aides worked with Rus­sia dur­ing the elec­tion.

The is­sue has dom­i­nated Washington and di­vided his White House, dis­tract­ing from his ef­forts to over­haul health­care, re­struc­ture the tax code and re­build the na­tion’s crum­bling in­fra­struc­ture.

Moscow has de­nied any in­ter­fer­ence.

KUNA VIA AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah al-Ah­mad al-Sabah (right), meets with EU for­eign af­fairs chief, Fed­er­ica Mogherini, in Kuwait City, on Sun­day.

Jared Kush­ner, White House se­nior ad­viser

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