Published: Fri, January 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

US Senate Upholds Lifting Sanctions on Russian's Companies

US Senate Upholds Lifting Sanctions on Russian's Companies

In the House, there were 136 Republicans who supported the resolution and 53 who opposed.

Senators voted 57-42 to end debate on the measure, as 11 of Trump's fellow Republicans broke from party leaders to join Democrats in favor of the resolution, amid questions about Trump's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hours after Wednesday's vote, the Treasury extended by one week its deadline for Deripaska to divest his holdings in Rusal, En+ and EuroSibEnergo to January 28. Two of the companies taking over Deripaska's shares would be the Swiss commodities firm Glencore, which has done business with Deripaska for years and owns a small stake in the Russian oil company Rosneft, and the Russian bank VTB, which has been nicknamed Putin's piggy bank.

Treasury justified the move by noting that Deripaska agreed to reduce his ownership of the companies to less than 50 percent.

"Nothing has changed in the Kremlin's behavior to warrant the relaxation of these sanctions".

Congress could act at any time to keep Trump from weakening sanctions on Russian Federation. Democrats complained that Treasury announced its decision on December 19, and they haven't had sufficient time to review the deal between the holidays and the organising of a new Congress.

"For the last two years, the Justice Department at the request of the GOP, has been turning maybe hundreds of thousands of pages of discovery in the Clinton email investigation to the Congress", Schiff told CNN's Manu Raju Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin talks with reporters at the White House, in Washington, Dec. 3, 2018.

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Democrat Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the bipartisan result sent a strong message to the Trump administration which he said was "trying to make an end run around Congress on an issue as important as Russian Federation sanctions". "I said there's not a single bit of evidence the president of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here - conspired with the Russians to hack the DNC".

"Today I voted to reinstate sanctions on certain Russian companies".

Sanctions against Mr. Deripaska personally, which had gone into effect last April, remain in force and would not have been affected by the Treasury Department decision or the Senate measure.

Mnuchin's message didn't resonate for many lawmakers.

While the matter is dead in the Senate, the House still could opt to pass the resolution disapproving of the sanctions relief.

Texas Rep Mike McCaul, the top Republican on House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the Treasury Department's case was "not very compelling".

"We respect different views in USA on sanctions, but our focus has always been on protecting jobs and livelihoods in Ireland and European Union", he said on Twitter. The move came exactly one day after the Senate blocked a measure proposed by Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer that would have prevented the Trump administration from lifting the sanctions on Deripaska's three firms.

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