In an almost unanimous vote, the U.S. Senate placed new sanctions on Russia, placing President Trump in a tight corner to either veto the legislation and get on the wrong side of the Republicans, Reuters reports.
Senator John McCain said before the vote: “The United States of America needs to send a strong message to Vladimir Putin and any other aggressor that we will not tolerate attacks on our democracy.”
The sanctions ruin any chance President Trump had of developing a warmer relationship with Russia, with the administration still struggling to swim above congressional and special counsel investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections.
The bill also imposes sanctions on Iran and North Korea, by a margin of 98-2 with strong support from Trump’s fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, a feat that seemed impossible with the embattled health care legistlation bill. It also includes a provision that allows Congress stop any effort by President Trump to ease existing sanctions on Russia.
Should Trump decide to veto the legislation, the bill is expected to pull support in both chambers to override his veto and pass it into law. The sanctions measure has already passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 419-3.
President Putin, who has repeatedly denied any collusion with the Trump campaign or interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections has threatened that Russia would retaliate against the sanctions.