Breaking with Trump, some Republicans vote to take up Russian Federation sanctions resolution

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin urges senators to ease Russia sanctions

The vote comes amid renewed scrutiny of the Trump administration's stance on Russian Federation in the aftermath of a bombshell New York Times report that the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2017 made a decision to investigate why Trump took actions that seemed to benefit Russian Federation.

A total of 11 Republican senators joined all Democrats in the January 15 vote, which clears the way for formal debate followed by a final vote on the resolution.

"There are some legitimate concerns about whether the sanctions regime is tough enough to hold people like Oleg Deripaska from basically retaining control over this company", he said. The Senate voted 57-42 for the resolution, and it will need 51 votes on the floor to pass with a simple majority.

The Treasury Department notified Congress in mid-December that it meant to lift sanctions on the companies linked to Deripask following the oligarch's holdings being reduced.

Democratic House leaders have also criticized the move and are considering a similar vote. Deripaska himself would remain subject to USA sanctions.

In December 2018, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced that the department was lifting sanctions on businesses tied to Deripaska - a move that drew bipartisan outcry.

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"Mr. Deripaska has been key to much of the malign activities Russian Federation directs against the United States, and the Congress must protect the American people against foreign interference and corruption", Hoyer said.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed Schumer's resolution as "a stunt and a farce". It would then go to the White House, where a Trump veto was likely.

The vote came as Republicans and Democrats in Congress battle over a partial shutdown of the federal government, which has left hundreds of thousands of Americans off the job, or working without pay as Senate Republicans back Trump's insistence that lawmakers approve $5.7 billion in funding to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

Under a 2017 law, Congress has the authority to halt any decision by the Trump administration to weaken sanctions, providing lawmakers with a 30-day window to reject the plan if lawmakers believe it undermines USA economic and national security interests.

The bipartisan approval came after a motion to table the resolution failed. He also told reporters that sanctions "shouldn't be a political issue", Fox reported. Russian Federation has denied meddling and Trump has said no collusion took place. Deripaska has close ties to the Kremlin. Manafort is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy against the United States.

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