Published: Sat, January 19, 2019
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Republicans Go Against Trump to Back Bid to Keep Deripaska Sanctions

Republicans Go Against Trump to Back Bid to Keep Deripaska Sanctions

They voted to stand up against Russian President Vladimir Putin - and this time, anyway, against the Trump administration's reflexively pro-Putin, pro-Russia lifting of sanctions against companies tied to a key Putin ally, Oleg Deripaska.

But the vote was only symbolic, after a similar measure failed in the Republican-led Senate on Wednesday, in a victory for President Donald Trump.

That result fell short of the 60 votes necessary to advance to a final passage vote in the 100-member Senate, where Republicans have a 53-47 seat majority.

In late December, the Treasury Department notified Congress that it had struck a deal with the entities: Treasury would remove the three companies, but not Deripaska, from the sanctions list if they restructure their corporate governance so that the oligarch has less than a 50 percent share.

"There is no good reason for the US government to lift sanctions on one of the most compromised Russian oligarchs around".

In pushing for the sanctions to be enforced, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY said, "For a very long time, the Republican Party predicated its foreign policy on taking a tougher line against Russian Federation and Putin".

His three companies, Rusal, EN+, and ESE, had been lobbying ever since to be removed from the sanctions list.

Deripaska had ties with Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign manager, documents have shown. But critics of the agreement argued that Deripaska's shares were distributed in a way that he would maintain control of the companies.

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Rusal is the world's largest aluminium producer outside China. Moreover, changes should be made to the companies' boards of directors through including the majority of independent directors, as well as to structures of companies' management.

"I$3 f this is the step you want to take, if you're going to gum up the work, filibuster on this measure... then you're saying to a lot of Americans out there, that you're down with protecting the president to such an extent that its violative of the law, you don't care, he added".

"Although I believe the secretary of the treasury has negotiated in good faith, I believe there are a lot of shenanigans the Russians are doing", Turner said.

Congress has the power to reject any lessening of sanctions on Russian Federation, but only if it has enough votes.

The Administration should maintain the current USA sanctions regime against Russia and Russian entities - and to impose new sanctions as necessary and merited by Russian behavior -unless Ukraine's control over Crimea is restored, Russia fully respects the Minsk agreements, and ceases all efforts to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty.

Manafort is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to conspiracy against the United States.

The other Republican senators who voted with Democrats were Susan Collins of Maine; Steve Daines of Montana; Cory Gardner of Colorado; Josh Hawley of Missouri; John Kennedy of Louisiana; Martha McSally of Arizona; Jerry Moran of Kansas; Marco Rubio of Florida; and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

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