US President Donald Trump is open to signing legislation toughening sanctions on Russia after Senate and House leaders reached agreement on a bill late last week, Reuters reports, citing White House officials.
Congressional Democrats said on Saturday they had agreed with Republicans on a deal allowing new sanctions targeting Russia, Iran and North Korea in a bill that would limit any potential effort by Trump to try to lift sanctions against Moscow.
“We support where the legislation is now and will continue working with the House and Senate to put those tough sanctions in place on Russia until the situation in Ukraine is fully resolved and it certainly isn’t right now,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” program.
A White House official said the administration’s view of the legislation evolved after changes were made, including the addition of sanctions on North Korea.
The official said the administration “supports the direction the bill is headed, but won’t weigh in conclusively until there is a final piece of legislation and no more changes are being made.”
Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s new communications director, said Trump had not yet decided whether he would sign the bill.
“My guess is … that he’s going to make that decision shortly,” Scaramucci told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Trump has faced resistance from Republican and Democratic lawmakers for his pledge to pursue warmer relations with Moscow. His administration has been bogged down by investigations of possible ties between his 2016 campaign and Russia. Trump has said his campaign did not collude with Russia.
With the bill, Republicans and Democrats are seeking to punish Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea from Ukraine and for meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied any interference in the US democratic process last year.
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