The Senate Overwhelmingly Voted To Impose Sanctions On Russia

In an increasingly rare display of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to impose sanctions on Russia in response to the country's interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The wide-ranging sanctions package targets sectors of the Russian economy as well as the individuals who carried out the cyberattacks. It also allows Congress to block Donald Trump from easing or ending penalties against Moscow.
Senators passed the bipartisan sanctions legislation 97-2 on Wednesday, illustrating that both Democrats and Republicans believe Moscow should be rebuked for deliberately interfering in the 2016 presidential race between Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Prior to the election, 17 federal intelligence agencies concluded that Russia was behind the email hacks that aimed to damage the Clinton campaign. Trump has failed to condemn the cyberattacks and, since taking office, he's sought to improve relations with Moscow. He's also repeatedly claimed that Russian interference didn't help him win the election.
However, some Republicans in Congress voiced their disagreement ahead of today's vote.
"[Vladimir Putin's] brazen attack on our democracy is a flagrant demonstration of his disdain and disrespect for our nation," Senator John McCain said. "But in the last eight months, what price has Russia paid for attacking American democracy?"
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Although his comments were decidedly more tepid, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conceded that he agrees "with the sentiment" that Russia should be held accountable for interfering in the election.
After intense negotiations, the leaders of the Senate Banking and Foreign Relations committee announced on Monday that they'd reached an agreement on the sanctions package. The deal was made amidst increasing investigations into Moscow's possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign. House and Senate committees are investigating possible ties between Russia and the Trump administration, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is conducting a separate probe.
The deal reached today adds new sanctions against Russia's defense and military-intelligence sectors and codifies existing sanctions into law. It will also punish individuals who engage in what the senators describe as "conducting malicious cyber activity on behalf of the Russian government." The sanctions also cover people doing business with Russian intelligence and defense agencies.
The only two senators to vote against the sanctions were Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

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