Senate Overwhelmingly Votes For New Russia Sanctions, Now It's Up To Trump

Two days after the House passed bipartisan legislation in a 419-3 vote codifying and imposing further sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea and preventing the president from acting unilaterally to remove certain sanctions on Russia, moments ago the Senate also overwhelmingly approved the measure in a 98-2 vote.  Only Senators Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voting no. The bill will now head to the White House where it will be either signed into law by the president or vetoed, setting up a potential showdown with the White House over Russia. The move marks congressional Republicans' first rebuke of Trump's foreign policy, where the administration's warmer stance toward Russia has drawn heavy skepticism from both parties.

The three countries named in the bill are accused of violating “the international order” by Senator Bob Menendez, the former chairman of the foreign relations committee.

Under the bill, existing sanctions on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine and interference in the 2016 election would be codified into law. New sanctions would go into effect against Iran for its ballistic missile development, while North Korea’s shipping industry and people who use slave labor would be targeted amid the isolated nation’s efforts to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

While a full breakdown of the key details in the legislation is provided at the bottom of this post, in a nutshell the sanctions target Russian gas and pipeline developments by codifying six of Barack Obama’s executive orders implementing sanctions on Russia for its alleged interference in the US elections.

John McCain lauded the bipartisan process that supported the bill: “We will not tolerate attacks on our democracy!” the Senator, who chairs the armed services committee, said from the Senate floor. “That's what this bill is all about.”

The Senate passage now sends the sanctions bill to Trump's desk, although lawmakers expressed mixed expectations on whether the president would sign it into law. In recent days, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered mixed messages in recent days.  On Sunday, Sanders told ABC’s “This Week” that the administration supports the bill. But on Monday, she told reporters on Air Force One that Trump is “going to study that legislation” before making a final decision.

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Should Trump sign the bill into law, a prompt Russian response is imminent. On Thursday, Russia's Kommersant newspaper reported that Russia is planning “symmetrical" response to earlier U.S. actions, including expelling diplomats and seizing U.S. Embassy properties, if and when Trump signs the new sanctions legislation.

It noted that Russia may take the Serebryany Bor vacation complex, and send home 35 diplomats, the same number as the Russian diplomats who were expelled by Barack Obama late in December. Komersant added that Russia may also limit maximum number of U.S. diplomatic personnel, which currently exceeds Russian staff in U.S.

Also on Thursday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia would be forced to retaliate if Washington pressed ahead with what he called illegal new sanctions against Moscow, describing U.S. conduct towards his country as boorish and unreasonable.

"As you know, we are exercising restraint and patience, but at some moment we'll have to retaliate. It's impossible to endlessly tolerate this boorishness towards our country," Putin told a joint news conference during a press conference in Findland.

"When will our response follow? What will it be? That will depend on the final version of the draft law which is now being debated in the U.S. Senate."

Putin also spoke about an ongoing diplomatic row between Moscow and Washington which erupted last December when then U.S. President Barack Obama ordered the seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States and the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats.

"This goes beyond all reasonable bounds," said Putin. "And now these sanctions - they are also absolutely unlawful from the point of view of international law." Calling the proposed sanctions "extremely cynical," Putin said the demarche looked like an attempt by Washington to use its "geopolitical advantages ... to safeguard its economic interests at the expense of its allies".

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But while Russia's adverse reaction is to be expected, it is the EU's response that will be closely watched.

According to an internal memo leaked to the FT earlier in the week, Brussles said it should act "within days" if new sanctions the US plans to impose on Russia prove to be damaging to Europe’s trade ties with Moscow. Retaliatory measures may include limiting US jurisdiction over EU companies. The memo, reported by the Financial Times and Politico, has emerged amid mounting European opposition to a US bill seeking to hit Russia with a new round of sanctions. 

The document said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker was particularly concerned the sanctions would neglect the interests of European companies. Juncker said Brussels “should stand ready to act within days” if sanctions on Russia are “adopted without EU concerns being taken into account,” according to the Financial Times.

The EU memo also warns that “the measures could impact a potentially large number of European companies doing legitimate business under EU measures with Russian entities in the railways, financial, shipping or mining sectors, among others.”

The freshly leaked memo suggests that the EU is seeking “a public declaration” from the Trump administration that it will not apply the new sanctions in a way that targets European interests.  Other options on the table include triggering the ‘Blocking Statute,’ an EU regulation that limits the enforcement of extraterritorial US laws in Europe. A number of “WTO-compliant retaliatory measures” are also being considered, according to the memo.

Over the weekend, we reported that Brussles expressed its concerns over the sanctions bill, when the European Commission said in a statement that “the Russia/Iran sanctions bill is driven primarily by domestic considerations,” adding that it “could have unintended consequences, not only when it comes to Transatlantic/G7 unity, but also on EU economic and energy security interests.”

And so, trapped between looking like a Russian crony on one hand if he refuses to sign the bill, and inflaming relations with not only Moscow but also Europe if he does sign, it will be up to Trump to determine if the feud with Russia escalates even more and involves European nations who are far closer to Russia in socio-economic terms than they would like to admit.

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Finally, courtesy of Goldman, here are the main details of the legislation:

Here are the main details of the draft legislation:

  • Codifies existing US sanctions on Russia and requires Congressional review before they are lifted.
  • Reduces from 30 days to 14 days the maximum allowed maturity for new debt and new extensions of credit to the state controlled financial institutions targeted under the sectoral sanctions.
  • Reduces from 90 days to 60 days the maximum allowed maturity for new debt and new extensions of credit to sectoral sanctions targets in the energy sector, although this largely only brings US sanctions in line with existing EU sanctions, which already impose a 30-day maximum for most energy companies.
  • Expands the existing Executive Order authorising sectoral sanctions to include additional sectors of the Russian economy: railways and metals and mining.
  • Requires sanctions on any person found to have invested $10 million or more, or facilitated such an investment, in the privatisation of Russian state-owned assets if they have “actual knowledge” that the privatisation “unjustly benefits” Russian government officials or their close associates or family members.
  • Authorises (but does not require) sanctions “in coordination with allies” on any person found to have knowingly made an investment of $1 million or more (or $5 million or more in any 12-month period), or knowingly provided goods or services of the same value, for construction, modernisation, or repair of Russia’s energy export pipelines.
  • Orders the treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State, to prepare detailed reports within the next 180 days:
    • on Russia’s oligarchs and parastatal companies including individual oligarchs' closeness to the Russian state, their involvement in corrupt activities and the potential impact of expanding sanctions with respect to Russian oligarchs, Russian state-owned enterprises, and Russian parastatal entities, including impacts on the entities themselves and on the economy of the Russian Federation, as well as the exposure of key US economic sectors to these entities.
    • on the impact of debt- and equity-related sanctions being extended to include sovereign debt and the full range of derivative products.

Comments

Looney JLee2027 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 18:43 Permalink

Germany is in a very peculiar position… 1. It is the largest gas importer in the EU - it produces only 10% of its gas consumption. 2. All gas is imported via pipelines: 25% from Norway, 19% from the Netherlands, 40% from Russia, and 6% from the UK and other countries. 3. After the Fukushima disaster, Germany is getting rid of all nuclear power plants. 4. Germany has ZERO LNG terminals. Building even a single terminal with temporary storage facilities, and connecting pipeline infrastructure is a very expensive undertaking and it would take many years to complete. Oh, and there’s a tiny insignificant detail that always gets omitted – the price of LNG is 30-50% higher than the gas from a pipeline. Why else would Qatar spend all that money stirring the shit in Syria in hopes of building a pipeline? Why else would a propane tank refill for your BBQ Grill cost more than the gas pumped into your house through the pipe? Also, a lot has been made out of the new LNG Terminal in Lithuania. It was “supposed” to process up to 90% of the gas demand in all 3 Baltic Countries, BUT… The utilization of the LNG Terminal has never exceeded 30%, because the existing pipelines are at the maximum capacity. So, Lithuania still buys more than half of its gas from Russia, Estonia buys 70%, and Latvia has not received a single cubic foot of gas from Lithuania’s LNG Terminal in Klaipeda, which is about 30 miles from Latvia’s border. Poland’s LNG Terminal’s utilization is at the same level 30-40% for the same reasons: not enough temporary storage and connecting pipelines, AND the high price of LNG. And here’s the Cherry on top of this Shit Pie - as all ZHers remember, a couple of years ago, 0bama proudly announced the first shipment of our LNG to Lithuania. That shipment was heavily subsidized by the US Taxpayers, but the captain of the ship said “Fuck that shit!” and sold the LNG to Argentina. Two years later (on June 17, 2017), Lithuania announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an unnamed American company for the FIRST EVER shipment (unspecified quantity) of LNG. That shipment, if it ever happens, will probably end up in Argentina, again!  ;-) Liquefied Natural Gas is a viable option for certain markets like Japan, India, or parts of China, where the pipelines from suppliers have not been built. LNG could also make sense in Europe during the short lower-demand periods, so it could be pumped into the underground storage at a slightly lower price. However, the notion of replacing the existing pipelined gas with the more expensive LNG without the terminals, additional storage, and their own pipeline infrastructure is… well… looney?   ;-) Looney

In reply to by JLee2027

Slack Jack SafelyGraze Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:17 Permalink

"Senate Overwhelmingly Votes For New Russia Sanctions, Now It's Up To Trump" What will the Orange Jew do?

So, why is the global rise in temperatures so worrisome?

For one thing, as temperatures rise good farmland will become desert (e.g., dust-bowl conditions will probably return to the American Midwest).

Another major problem is sea-level rise.

Have a look at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

The U.S. Geological Survey people claim that;

The Greenland ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 6.55 meters (21.5 feet),
the West Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 8.06 meters (26.4 feet),
the East Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 64.8 meters (212.6 feet),
and all other ice melting will raise sea-level 0.91 meters (3 feet).

For a grand total of about 80.3 meters (263.5 feet).

So, what does an 80 meter (263 feet) rise in sea-level mean. Have a look at the following map of the world after an 80 meter rise. It means that over one billion people will have to be resettled to higher ground and that much of the most productive agricultural land will be under water. Fortunately, at current rates, the Greenland ice sheet will take over a thousand years to melt and the Antarctica ice sheet, much longer. However, the greater the temperature rise the faster the ice sheets will melt, bringing the problem much closer. Remember, the huge ice sheet that recently covered much of North America, almost completely melted in only 15,000 years (today, only the Greenland ice sheet, and some other small patches of it, remain). Since then (15,000 years ago), sea-levels have risen about 125 meters (410 feet), only 80 meters to go.

The ice sheets have been continuously melting for thousands of years. What is left of them today, is still melting, and will continue to melt. Human caused global warning will cause this remnant to melt significantly faster. This is a big, big, problem.

For HUGE detailed maps of the "World after the Melt" go to:

http://preearth.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=23

Global temperatures are increasing. And by quite a lot each year.

2016 is the hottest year on record for global temperatures.

This is 0.0380 degrees centigrade hotter than the previous record year which was 2015.

0.0380 is a large increase in just one year.

2015 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.1601 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2014.

0.1601 is an absolutely huge increase in just one year (at this rate temperatures would increase by 16 degrees in a century.).

2014 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.0402 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2010.

http://preearth.net/images/temp-anomalies-1880-2017.txt

http://preearth.net/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=23

In reply to by SafelyGraze

fulliautomatix Slack Jack Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:35 Permalink

Slack, you have faith in the data. I don't.Measuring the wrong or the right is an exercise in patience with change. If the global architecture on which our civilization is based changes faster than our ability to adapt to the changes that occur, we will have failed as a species. So far the tools of language have given us the ability to pass knowledge on, and further it. This has given an overwhelming flavour of hubris to our achievements  - whaddya mean we? - the relatively recent change from meritocracy to the promotion of a sneering, shallow intellect to leadership is of more import to us than what the weather might do. Best of luck to us all - and I like my weather changeable.

In reply to by Slack Jack

GUS100CORRINA Jim Sampson (not verified) Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:02 Permalink

Observation: Things are getting really, really weird!! The DEEP STATE looks to be sinking its CLAWS of OBEDIENCE into President TRUMP.The SENATE has lost its collective mind!!! Never underestimate the power of large groups of STUPID, BRAIN DEAD people to do incredibly ASININE things that are very DANGEROUS.The DEMONS are in charge in Washington D.C. The LORD GOD has left the building.

In reply to by Jim Sampson (not verified)

justa minute TahoeBilly2012 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 23:18 Permalink

most so called christians believe russia is gog mentioned in Ezekial 38 as well as the false prophets who laid hands on Trump at his inauguration. it was an interpretation from the jew synchophat schofieldand it is so wrong. most socalled christians never read the Bible themselves but gulp down everything their false preacher says. all the seminaries have been infiltrated with this nonsense. Trump probably has no clue that these people are wolves in sheep clothing and these so called christians ssay they believe in Christ but they havent the faintest idea what Christ said. one thing Christ said to them among many other things was your house is left unto you desolate, so they are the abomination of desolation so these christians are actually worshiping gog which is the state of fake israel. the star of remphan on their flag should be a dead giveaway but God did say there was going to be a great delusion and that is part of it

In reply to by TahoeBilly2012

not dead yet Jim Sampson (not verified) Fri, 07/28/2017 - 05:08 Permalink

Russia doesn't turn off the gas willy nilly. One time they shut off the gas through Ukriane to Europe, after giving many warnings, because Ukraine was stealing gas and not paying for it. Europeans on the whole consider the Russians great trading partners. When the Russians give their word they keep it. Europeans don't trust the US as they only keep their word when it's good for the US and have fucked over Europe plenty. The current sanctions on Russia have hurt Europe more than Russia and Europe is pissed because these sanctions will hurt them too. Unlike the US which can't get rid of it's manufacturing fast enough the Russians are building up their manufacturing, mining, and agriculture so as to be dependant on no one.What's really funny is how the US has farmed out almost all it's electronics. A couple of years ago the military had some of their own chip plants in the US but I don't know if they still exist. The US war machine is heavily dependant on electronics that come from China and other countries. Some speculate that the Chinese have backdoors built into the electronics they sold to the US military and if there is a war the Chinese would press a button and the whole war machine would grind to a halt.

In reply to by Jim Sampson (not verified)

serotonindumptruck Looney Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:10 Permalink

What Germany does, the rest of the EU will glady emulate.This is the Death of Empire, and the United States will be abandoned by all of its allies when the time is ripe.The USSA will be left with two choices. Execute the Sampson Option and incinerate the planet......or resolve themselves to a Second Civil War and self-immolate in a blaze of glory.

In reply to by Looney

LightBulb18 Looney Thu, 07/27/2017 - 21:30 Permalink

So the enginears from eastern europe forgot to calculate the thickness of the LNG pipes before building the multimillion dollar LNG facility? They have lots of coal in germany, if the kick out the globalists and the enviornmental mafia, they can make electricity to heat their homes in case the russians or their pupet masters decide to invade the country.

In reply to by Looney

Debt-Is-Not-Money JLee2027 Thu, 07/27/2017 - 18:58 Permalink

"Unbelievable.""VERY IMPORTANT NIGHTMARE HR.722 UPDATE.ON MONDAY IT WAS RE-BRANDED AS HR.3364 WHICH MEANS THEY ARE PLAYING WHACK A MOLE, TO KEEP IT OUT OF THE PUBLIC EYE.On that note, anonymous sent:Something is amiss. First of all, there is no way a bill like that should just blow through with a 98% approval rate. Way to controversial to pass so easily. My feeling is that they have become so desperate that they have been forced to use their ace in the hole so to speak. Prior to this bill coming up, I'm guessing that every senator, congressman and representative was paid a little visit and given the ultimatum. Either a yes vote on this bill or the pedophilia is out of the bag, or maybe the wife and kids in a freak car accident, or both.It is also a good indication of the number of them that have been compromised. 98% of them! That means that there are only 2% of our elected officials that are actually honest, clean and trustworthy that they could not threaten them into compromising their integrity. It also verifies the fact that there are not 2 parties and just 1 uni-party doing the bidding of the same master, with the exception of a couple of good people. However, this is part of the ongoing plot to remove the elected president against the will of the people by the far left lunatics and if it happens, which it undoubtedly will, then it will become open season. What other choice will we have left other than to just roll over and die?"My comment: I was really surprised such a super majority could push this legislation which appears have been re-branded as HR.3364. After a brief look at the renamed version with a new drafting date of July 24, it appears to be the exact same bill with a new identification. The new introduction has no summary yet but is stated to have passed the Senate is probably the exact same bill. The original bill that appears to read the same was introduced on March 23. So maybe they re-branded it to hide it? At any rate, this is very anomalous and the bill reads like it is going to open the gates of Hell. I am genuinely worried about this one."From Jim Stone:http://82.221.129.208/baaaasepaagea3.html

In reply to by JLee2027

fulliautomatix Debt-Is-Not-Money Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:22 Permalink

The Statesman Trump vetoes,and goes. What happens after that is questionable - hard to see the good in it, mostly because a it is a move in power, willingness need not apply and we don't matter.President Trump passes the bill. The western commodities groups (and the US dollar) retain control of volumes in the global market, but the outer empire is getting pissed. Trump spends the next three years putting out fires in his own house, if he's lucky.

In reply to by Debt-Is-Not-Money

TheReplacement LightBulb18 Fri, 07/28/2017 - 00:10 Permalink

1.  It would piss off the targets and that is good for war which is good for business.2.  If forces Trump to side with Russia or with Congress.  Imagine the explosion in the msm if he doesn't go with it.  All you will hear is "impeach, impeach, impeach" and just like this ridiculous stuff going on with Russia, they will do it and ram it down our throats while the media cheers them on with fake polls to convince us all that we are in a tiny crazy minority and that we just might need to be dealt with too.3.  Or it could all be pretend just to build up an image.  I'm going with 3.  This is, as in, 1+2.

In reply to by LightBulb18

swmnguy Give us Stirli… Thu, 07/27/2017 - 18:58 Permalink

He shouldn't, but I bet he does.  One more step toward the collapse of all US treaty alliances and partnerships.  Europe is starting to realize that under the Zbigniew Brzezinski-inspired US foreign policy over the past 3 decades, they are an obstacle to US global Empire by dominance of Eurasia, and that most US overt and covert military adventures have been in aid of controlling Europe's supplies of energy.They're not going to like pressure to antagonize their main source of natural gas.  Europeans in general are starting to wonder what exactly is in it for them to continue being Washington's lapdog.

In reply to by Give us Stirli…

new game swmnguy Thu, 07/27/2017 - 19:52 Permalink

he will find out if his visit was sincere. if trump vetoes this shit sandwich, my faith will be temporarily restored. otherwise, well nothing new at the one party tyranny.rand vs bernie would be an interesting prez election, just sayin..i think bernie would have won against trump, but maybe not against rand.anyways, still in the fuk trump camp due to lack of action against the killary clan...

In reply to by swmnguy