The New York Times reports: The Senate on Thursday approved sweeping sanctions against Russia, forcing President Trump to decide whether to accept a tougher line against Moscow or issue a politically explosive veto amid investigations into ties between his presidential campaign and Russian officials.
The Senate vote, 98-2, followed the passage of a House bill earlier this week to punish Russia, Iran and North Korea for various violations by each of the three American adversaries. In effect, it would sharply limit the president’s ability to suspend or lift sanctions on Russia, and won near unanimous support across the Republican-led Congress.
Mr. Trump’s team has argued it needs flexibility to pursue a more collaborative diplomacy with Russia which, by American intelligence consensus, interfered in last year’s presidential election. But now the president will face a decision he had hoped to avoid as the legislation slowly churned through Congress.
White House aides have acknowledged privately that a veto would be politically awkward — at the least — for Mr. Trump to justify during the continuing investigations into whether his campaign colluded with Moscow. [Continue reading…]
Reuters reports: Russia risks being saddled with U.S. sanctions for decades, curbing economic growth and preventing it from regaining its status as a leading economic power, an adviser to President Vladimir Putin said in an interview.
Alexei Kudrin told Reuters that the current proposed tightening of sanctions in Washington should not have any serious impact. But he called for a major structural reform program after the 2018 presidential election.
He said that was the only way for Russia to return to growth of more than 2 percent a year.
Putin has not yet said whether he will run for re-election next year, but is widely expected to do so and to win what would be a fourth term as president. [Continue reading…]