US Senate crafts bill to wrest Russia policy away from Trump
Legislation would impose ‘crushing’ sanctions, create obstacle to leaving NATO
As US President Donald Trump continues his one-man crusade to reset relations with Russia, lawmakers in Congress are determined to make sure the policy shift is limited to the personal relationship between presidents.
A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation on Thursday that would impose “the most hard-hitting ever” sanctions, would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to allow the US to withdraw from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and would require the State Department to determine whether Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism.
The bill is co-sponsored by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, one of Washington’s most vocal Russia critics.
“The current sanctions regime has failed to deter Russia from meddling in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections,” Graham said in a statement.
“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyberattacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria,” the statement continued.
The bill’s introduction came as US intelligence chiefs joined the Trump administration’s national security adviser to announce at a White House press briefing that a “vast government-wide effort” was under way to counter an alleged Russian campaign to interfere in US elections.