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Schumer to force vote on U.S. decision to lift sanctions on Russia firms

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U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Saturday he will force a vote soon on a resolution to disapprove the Trump administration’s decision to relax sanctions on three Russian companies connected to oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

“I have concluded that the Treasury Department’s proposal is flawed and fails to sufficiently limit Oleg Deripaska’s control and influence of these companies and the Senate should move to block this misguided effort by the Trump Administration and keep these sanctions in place,” Schumer said in a news release.

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The U.S. Treasury announced on Dec. 20 that it would lift sanctions imposed in April on the core businesses of Deripaska, including aluminum giant Rusal its parent En+ and power firm EuroSibEnergo, watering down the toughest penalties imposed since Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

After lobbying by European governments that followed the imposition of sanctions, Washington postponed enforcement of the sanctions and started talks with Deripaska’s team on removing Rusal and En+ from the blacklist if he ceded control of Rusal.

The businessman, who has close ties to the Kremlin, also had ties with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, documents have showed.

An FBI agent said in an affidavit attached to a 2017 search warrant unsealed earlier this year that he had reviewed tax returns for a company controlled by Manafort and his wife that showed a $10 million loan from a Russian lender identified as Deripaska.

On Thursday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted that the Trump administration would keep tight control on companies linked to Deripaska, despite the decision to ease restrictions.

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Mnuchin said the firms would face consequences including the reimposition of sanctions if they failed to comply with the terms.

Schumer said given Deripaska’s potential involvement with Manafort, and since special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia has not yet concluded, “It’s all the more reason these sanctions must remain in place.”

Passage of the resolution of disapproval of Treasury’s decision would require the approval of both the Democratic-majority house and the Senate, led by Trump’s fellow Republicans who are unlikely to break with his policy.

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Reporting by Karen Freifeld and Timothy Gardner; Editing by Kim Coghill


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Nancy Pelosi missed a big opportunity in impeachment — but she still has time to fix it

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her reasons for limiting her impeachment articles to offenses stemming from the abuses and violations related to Ukraine. Unfortunately, she declined to pursue a broader impeachment approach that recognizes multiple provable, serious violations of the Constitution. Speaker Pelosi overruled Chairs of Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, and other senior lawmakers who wanted to forward to the Senate a broader array of impeachable offenses.

Having lost four of the last five House elections to the worst Republican Party in history, Speaker Pelosi remains cautious. She is overly worried about the conservative Democrats who won congressional seats in 2018 in Republican, pro-Trump districts. Endangering their seats might, Pelosi fears, lead to the loss of the House in 2020 and, more immediately, risk not having the votes in the House to pass additional impeachable offenses.

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McConnell under pressure to wrap up Trump impeachment trial quickly without alienating wavering GOP senators

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According to a report from Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is under pressure from the White House and some of his Republican colleagues to move quickly to acquit Donald Trump by speeding up his impeachment trial while not upsetting some wavering GOP lawmakers who are fearful for their reputations in an election year.

The report notes that a Trump acquittal is a foregone conclusion, with GOP lawmakers admitting as much.

“The question is going to come to ‘Have you heard enough to make a decision or do you want witnesses?’ If people say, ‘We’re ready to vote,’ we’re going to vote right then,” explained Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

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Are Trump and his circle manipulating the markets for personal gain? Here’s the evidence

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Donald Trump has been impeached by the House of Representatives for abuse of power and obstructing a congressional investigation into his attempt to blackmail a foreign country into aiding him in the 2020 presidential election. He is now the third president in American history to have earned that ignominious distinction.

Trump will not be convicted by the Republicans in the Senate for his crimes.

The public evidence is damning. There is no evidence that could possibly exonerate him. Trump is publicly bragging about committing crimes against the Constitution and the American people. The Republican Party and its propaganda news media have decided to ignore reality and fully immerse themselves in TrumpWorld. They have pledged total loyalty to him and no evidence will move them. The Republicans and their news media and public are authoritarian lemmings.

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