Senate sends new Russia sanctions bill to White House in overwhelming vote

PHOTO: Sen. John McCain speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 27, 2017.PlayCliff Owen/AP
WATCH Senate sends new Russia sanctions bill to White House in overwhelming vote

The Senate has approved new sanctions to punish Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election in an overwhelming vote, sending the bill to the White House and setting the stage for a potential showdown with President Trump.

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The bill, cleared by the Senate in a 98-2 vote, would limit Trump's ability to lift or waive sanctions against Russia, and imposes new sanctions on Iran and North Korea. It passed the House earlier this week in a bipartisan 419-3 vote.

The Trump White House has not taken a position on the bill amid the administration's efforts to improve relations with Russia and the ongoing probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.

"The President and the administration support sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Thursday. "We continue to support strong sanctions against those three countries, and we're going to wait and see what that final legislation looks like and make a decision at that point."

In an interview with CNN Thursday morning, incoming White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci suggested Trump could veto the measure.

"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.

Republicans and Democrats urged Trump to quickly sign the measure into law after the House and Senate cleared it with veto-proof majorities in both chambers.

"This bipartisan bill is about keeping America safe, and I urge the president to sign it into law," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said in a statement.