On Impeachment’s Eve, The Trump Admin Sent A 22-Page Memo Defending Russia
President Donald Trump’s administration sent a 22-page letter to a top Senate chairman to make a case against a new sanctions bill on Russia, the day before the House voted to impeach the president, according to The Daily Beast.
Sen. Lindsey Graham introduced the legislation earlier this year, which is designed to punish Russian individuals and companies over the Kremlin’s actions against Ukraine, as well as its 2016 election interference in the U.S., its activities in Syria, and its attacks on dissidents.
The letter argues that the bill “risks crippling the global energy, commodities, financial, and other market,” and would target “almost the entire range of foreign commercial activities with Russia.”
Despite Trump’s strong opposition, the bill passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday morning. The five senators that opposed it are all Republicans: Chairman Jim Risch, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Johnny Isacson, Sen. John Barrasso, and Sen. Ron Johnson.
The bill, called “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019” (DASKA) would place new sanctions on Russian oligarchs, against its banking sector, and would additionally open the door to sanctioning Russia’s ship-building industry, crude oil development projects, and energy projects outside the country that are backed by Russia state-owned companies.
The last provision of the bill would require that the State Department and the Intelligence Community report to Congress every 90 days on whether or not the Kremlin is meddling in U.S. elections, which drew the most criticism from Trump.
Although it is unclear whether it will pass the vote on the Senate floor, Graham said in a statement: “I am committed to working with my colleagues to improve this legislation, but it must be strong to be meaningful.”