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White House Wants More Flexible Russia-Sanctions Deal From Congress

President Trump is expected to meet Mr. Putin for the first time, ahead of G20 meeting.

The legislation, which now moves to the House, also gives Capitol Hill a much stronger hand in determining Russian Federation sanctions policy.

The investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election took another turn, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday that Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice. "If we can not make some progress, and I have told others in the Senate, I have had conversations with them, I may very well be coming to you and saying the time has come now to do this in order to motivate some movement on their part". These latest sanctions are in retaliation for Russia's interference in last year's presidential election.

"This bill will impose sanctions on Iran for its non-nuclear violations", Cardin said.

The Senate voted Wednesday, 97-2, to pass a measure that would toughen sanctions on Russian Federation and would prevent the White House from unilaterally removing the sanctions imposed by his predecessor, former President Barack Obama in 2014 and 2016.

It also applies terrorism-related sanctions to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and re-enforces aspects of the arms embargo on Iran.

Tech CEOS visit White House to talk modernizing government
The council also seeks to boost the cyber security of US government IT systems and wants to learn from private-sector practices. The tech CEOs and Trump also plan to discuss the USA visa program for bringing high-skilled foreign workers into the country.

The initial Iran bill imposes sanctions on any foreign person or foreign entity that does business with an entity already designated by the administration that has a connection to Iran's ballistic missile program. Certain Russian industries, like its mining and metals industries, would also be targeted.

A day earlier, the Senate voted to adopt an amendment to the bill that would expand sanctions against Russia, CBS News reported.

"It is, of course, evidence of the continuing domestic political battle in the States", said Mr. Putin, speaking at his annual call-in program in which he takes questions from Russians across the country. Germany and Austria said the new punitive measures could expose European companies involved in projects in Russian Federation to fines.

The penalties have been criticized by Austria and Germany for promoting US economic interests. They blocked U.S. companies such as Exxon Mobil, where Tillerson was chairman, from investing in such projects.

In a joint statement, Austria's Chancellor Christian Kern and Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel cited a section of the sanctions bill that calls for the United States to continue to oppose the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that would pump Russian gas to Germany beneath the Baltic Sea.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., voted against the sanctions package.

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