30 July, 2017
The bill underwent revisions to address concerns voiced by American oil and natural gas companies that sanctions specific to Russia's energy sector could backfire on them to Moscow's benefit.
President Donald Trump intends to sign a bill passed by Congress this week that would impose new sanctions on Russian Federation, the White House said Friday.
"He may sign the sanctions exactly the way they are, or he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians", he said. Communications director Anthony Scaramucci told CNN there's a chance Trump could veto it.
An official at the USA embassy in Moscow, who declined to be named because they were not allowed to speak to the media, said there were around 1,100 United States diplomatic staff in Russian Federation.
Russia's Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered a reduction in the number of USA diplomats in Russian Federation and said it was closing down a US recreation retreat in response to fresh sanctions against Russian Federation.
Trump's vow to extend a hand of cooperation to Russian President Vladimir Putin has been met with resistance as skeptical lawmakers look to limit the executive power's leeway to go easy on Moscow over its meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Its response suggests it has set aside initial hopes of better ties with Washington under Trump, something the US leader, before he was elected, had said he wanted to achieve. Trump denies any collusion between his campaign and Moscow.
When House leadership took up the bill, they added additional sanctions on Iran and North Korea.
"The message coming from Congress on a bipartisan basis is: These are hostile regimes, sanctions are warranted, sanctions are called for".
Trump has yet to sign off on the package.
Russian Federation announced that it was expelling American diplomats and seizing property after Congress passed the bill.
One thing is clear, Beebe said.
With that in mind, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russian Federation wouldn't retaliate after the December sanctions, preferring to wait until the Trump administration moved into the White House.
Trump can impose new sanctions at any time through an executive order.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, who helped broker the Senate sanctions deal, said he spoke to both the President and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in recent days about the bill.
Moscow said it would cut the USA diplomatic corps even further if the US decides to expel more Russian diplomats.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, reacts during a joint media conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto in Savonlinna, Eastern Finland, on Thursday July 27, 2017.
The outgoing Obama administration seized two Russian diplomatic compounds - one in NY and another in Maryland - at the same time as it expelled the Russian diplomats in December.
Long-time Finnish MP Ilkka Kanerva, chairman of the parliamentary defence committee, commented that Putin again said between the lines that he does not want Finland or Sweden to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
The sanctions, which House lawmakers approved overwhelmingly this week, "are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of worldwide law", he added, according to the news outlet.
Trump has also questioned Mueller's impartiality, leading to speculation he is the ultimate target.
"I think it'd be very unwise - it would be overridden immediately", Oklahoma Republican Rep. Tom Cole said.
The Kremlin had previously said that it would not impose any sanctions on the USA until Trump signs the bill.