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Russia Probe, Delays Complicate House Sanctions on Russia

15 Julio 2017, 02:34 | Bibiana Flor

Russia Probe, Delays Complicate House Sanctions on Russia

Congresswoman Maxine Walters speaks at a

House Republicans are throwing up new roadblocks to a Russian Federation and Iran sanctions bill over concerns from the energy industry that a provision could block US companies from lucrative foreign oil deals.

Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, told reporters she had filed a resolution of inquiry demanding the U.S. Treasury Secretary hand over documents in his possession, "relating to President Trump's financial connections to Russian Federation, certain illegal financial schemes, and related information". "It would be considered as a House bill, which would in and of itself cure the serious issue of the "blue slip" constitutional requirement", Hoyer said.

Ryan on July 12 said: "I'm a Russian Federation hawk". "Every day that goes by around here, mischief can happen".

He later told reporters on Air Force One that "in fact maybe it was mentioned at some point", referring to the meeting, adding he was not told it was about Clinton.

The question of new Russian sanctions has been raised by a number of senators in both parties after the intelligence community announced in January its conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of President Donald Trump.

Trump Jnr disclosed this week that he had met with a Russian lawyer previous year who was said to be offering damaging information on Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accuses Republicans of being "enablers of the Trump-Russia assault on our democracy", at a news conference on Thursday, July 13, 2017.

"I don't believe that having the president's party in a position to protect him from any oversight is good policy for our country, and in fact it'd be unsafe for our country", Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland said.

The text of the bill initially passed by the Senate made clear that any resolution filed to block a presidential action on Russian sanctions would receive a House floor vote, meaning the majority party could not bottle it up.

A spokeswoman for Ryan did not immediately return a request for comment on House Democrats' latest gambit. Hoyer said he revisited the idea during a conversation with Speaker Paul Ryan on the floor Tuesday night and told Ryan that Democrats would be introducing their own version of the Senate bill this week.

The Senate bill passed with a margin of 98-2 and appeared on track for quick approval in the House.

"For anyone to expect us to understand and trust them, and give them back locations in which they were spying on us is simply absolutely ludicrous and against the best interest of the United States", Rep. Mike Quigley, an Illinois Democrat, told CNN Friday.

It's not clear the Trump administration is actively planning to return the sites, though the Washington Post reported in June the idea was among several topics US diplomats discussed with their Russian counterparts.

A section of the legislation would prevent US companies from doing business anywhere in the world with Russian interests, causing consternation in the capital-intensive energy industry where foreign partnerships are common. In trying to punish Moscow, the group said, the bill could instead penalize major American businesses, potentially costing billions of dollars in jobs and economic activity.

The Trump administration fears the measure will complicate its ability to conduct diplomacy because the bill limits the president's power to act on sanctions without congressional authorization.



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