Trump administration scrambled to weaken Senate Russia sanctions bill last week: report
Vladimir Putin shaking hands with Donald Trump - MSNBC screengrab

A new report claims that the Trump administration lobbied key members of the House of Representatives to weaken a Russian sanctions bill that passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Two congressional aides tell the Daily Beast that "a top Treasury Department official met with House leadership staffers and committee aides last Thursday to discuss changing a key component of the Senate bill which was sent to the House for approval after a procedural violation stalled it for weeks."

The sanctions bill, which passed the Senate by a 98-2 vote, would not only slap fresh sanctions on Russia and Iran, but would limit President Donald Trump's powers to unilaterally ease sanctions himself by subjecting any attempted weakening of sanctions to congressional review.

"The Trump administration has argued that the key congressional review provision of the Senate-passed legislation would inappropriately tie the hands of the administration," the Daily Beast reports. "Administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, have warned that slapping new sanctions on Russia would handicap their desire to repair the relationship between the two nations."

Trump could still veto the sanctions bill if it passes in its current form, although the Senate at least would have more than enough votes to override it.