Amid investigation, new sanctions punishing Russian Federation set to land on Trump's desk

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On Wednesday, United States Senate has overwhelming voted to make way for allowing new sanctions against Russian Federation in order to punish the latter's alleged interference in the US election of 2016.

The Senate on Thursday voted 98-2 for new sanctions on Iran and Russian Federation, including new powers for Congress to block President Donald Trump from rolling back any penalties against Vladimir Putin's government.

Monday's agreement, to be filed as an amendment to an Iran sanctions Bill, is meant to punish Russian Federation over issues including its alleged meddling in the USA election last year, annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region and support for the government of Syria in that country's six-year civil war.

The agreement has also established a process for the Congress to review any attempt by Presidnent Donald Trump to relax, suspend or terminate the sanctions.

In early January, before Trump was sworn in, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill created to go beyond the punishments already levied against Russian Federation by the Obama administration and to demonstrate to Trump that forcefully responding to Moscow's election interference wasn't a partisan issue.

Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee first approved the sanctions Monday night, with the former breaking away from the president and his former campaign facing investigations into alleged links to Russian Federation before and after the election. Before passing the combined Russia-Iran measure, the chamber also attached a bipartisan amendment signaling support for NATO's Article 5 - which Trump earlier this month notably declined to endorse in Brussels - by a unanimous vote.

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The sanctions would codify existing economic restrictions and place new ones in an effort to economically harm specific individuals and Russia's economy.

Crossing what's become a large partisan divide in Washington, the sanctions passed 97-2 as part of a bill that has also taken aim at Iran, a strong ally of Russia's.

These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.

However, Sen. Robert Menendez was skeptical, telling Politico, "I just cannot fathom how House Republicans could ultimately, with everything that's going on with Russia's nefarious actions, try to either deep-six the bill or dramatically change it". "I am strongly supportive of the sanctions on Russian Federation included in this bill", Sanders said in a statement. Dan Fried, who retired in February as coordinator for sanctions policy at the State Department, told Yahoo News that there was "serious consideration" by the Trump White House to "unilaterally rescind the sanctions". Once the Iran bill passes the Senate, the legislation moves to the House for action.

"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.

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