Trump dodges on Russian Federation sanctions

White House Pressures Congress to Soften Russia Sanctions Bill

White House criticizes Russia sanctions stalled in House

The Trump administration has pushed for changes to the Senate's Russian Federation sanctions bill, particularly over the provision that gives Congress veto power if the White House eases sanctions on Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr. released an email trail from last summer confirming the unusual circumstances of his meeting with a Russian lawyer who has Kremlin ties.

The previous bill called for imposing "sanctions with respect to Iran in relation to Iran's ballistic missile programme, support for acts of worldwide terrorism, and violations of human rights, and for other purposes".

Trump Jr. said he accepted the invitation as an exercise in opposition research, but he described the meeting as "inane nonsense".

U.S. President Donald Trump said he would invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House but that now was not the right time for that.

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Pelosi also accused congressional Republicans of enabling the "Trump-Russia assault on our democracy"; demanded the revocation of Jared Kushner's security clearance; and demanded the appointment of an outside commission.

However, another influential K Street presence - the American Israel Public Affairs Committee - is pressing for quick action on the bipartisan Iran sanctions bill to which the Russian Federation penalties are attached. The Senate GOP is facing a slim margin for passage, with a couple of lawmakers already saying they won't approve it. Trump said he'll be at his desk, "pen in hand!" to sign the bill if it passes. Two officials familiar with the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation said the panel was now planning to expand its inquiry to include Donald Trump Jr.

Castro pointed out that the sanctions legislation passed in the Senate 98-2, and that after similar legislation was introduced in the House, only Trump and Ryan were keeping it from becoming law.

Question time in the Briefing Room was kicked off by Kevin Corke of Fox News setting the tone for the rest of the day by asking at what point "did the President discuss with Donald Trump, Jr. that meeting?"

Earlier this week, Democrats objected that House Republicans were trying to prevent the minority from ever bringing up a resolution under the bill to block Trump from making changes to sanctions policy, absent Republican approval. They said Kushner informed the president that he had met with a Russian foreign national, and that while he had to report the name, it would not cause a problem for the administration.

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In a release, Pelosi explained, "More than 300 requests for information from Democratic Members on these topics and other issues critical to the lives of the American people have gone unanswered by the Trump Administration".

"The President is, I would say, frustrated with the process of the fact that this continues to be an issue".

It's not clear the Trump administration is actively planning to return the sites, though the Washington Post reported in June the idea was among several topics USA diplomats discussed with their Russian counterparts.

Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., also said Thursday that as he understood it, it was "a possibility" that House leaders might try to attach North Korea sanctions to the Russia-Iran package, but that the chances were slim - "probably a four-percenter", as he put it. But with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) a vocal impeachment advocate, standing behind her on Friday, Pelosi seemed to edge toward Waters' position.

Meanwhile, the president goes on acting as if Vladimir Putin may still turn out to be a best friend forever, instead of the risky geopolitical adversary most Americans recognize.

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