Senators move to limit Trump on Russia sanctions
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A bipartisan group of senators is moving to check President Trump on Russia by bolstering congressional oversight before he can lift sanctions. 

Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin Graham2020 hopefuls skeptical of criminal justice deal with Trump Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Graham: Flynn should lose security clearance MORE (R-S.C.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinSenate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Businesses fear blowback from Russia sanctions bill Dems ask Mnuchin to probe Russian investment in state election tech MORE (D-Md.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP looks to injure Nelson over Russia comments Rubio’s pro-family, conservative family leave policy promotes stability Dems make history in Tuesday's primaries MORE (R-Fla.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s GOP feuds dominate ahead of midterms Dustbin 2020: The best Dems who surely won’t get the nomination Vulnerable Dems side with Warren in battle over consumer bureau MORE (D-Ohio), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report Senate gets to work in August — but many don’t show up Rand Paul’s Russia visit displays advancement of peace through diplomacy MORE (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillThe Hill's Morning Report: Dems have a majority in the Senate (this week) Schumer to meet with Kavanaugh on Tuesday GOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work MORE (D-Mo.) introduced legislation Wednesday setting up a period of congressional oversight before Trump could roll back financial penalties. 
 
The legislation, known as the Russia Sanctions Review Act, would require Trump to notify Congress before he lifts sanctions tied to the invasion of Ukraine or Russia's meddling in the White House race. 
 
“To provide relief at this time would send the wrong signal to Russia and our allies who face Russian oppression. Sanctions relief must be earned, not given," said Graham, a frequent GOP critic of the president. 
 
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Lawmakers would have 120 days to pass a joint resolution of disapproval blocking Trump from lifting the sanctions. Trump also would not be able to lift sanctions while Congress was reviewing the proposal. 
 
Cardin told reporters on Wednesday that the legislation wasn't meant to punish Trump, but would help bolster congressional input and understanding of Trump's policy. 
 
"It's not an attack against President Trump," Cardin, the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said. "This is basically to reestablish our role." 
 
He compared the legislation to a 2015 bill — which passed the Senate with near unanimous support — to allow lawmakers to review and potentially block the Iran nuclear deal. 
 
McCain added that lifting Russia sanctions would send the "wrong message" to Russian President Vladimir Putin. 
 
"[He] continues to oppress his citizens, murder his political opponents, invade his neighbors, threaten America’s allies, and attempt to undermine our elections," McCain said. 
 
Under the legislation Trump would also need to certify that Russia had cut support for separatist fighters in Ukraine or stopped actions "intended to undermine" the country's stability. 
 
Though Trump has gotten bipartisan pushback in the Senate over his friendly attitude toward Moscow, Cardin demurred when asked if the measure would ultimately be able to win over Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Sen. Warner to introduce amendment limiting Trump’s ability to revoke security clearances The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ky.), noting it first needed to clear the Foreign Relations panel. 
 
 
The legislation, which was first floated last month, comes as Trump's warmer tone toward Putin is under a congressional microscope. 
 
The president sparked bipartisan backlash for pushing back against Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's description of Putin as a "killer." 
 
Top Republicans and Democrats also warned Trump against lifting sanctions after the administration flirted with option late last month.
 
Asked if lifting some sanction was on the table, top adviser Kellyanne Conway told Fox News that "all of that is under consideration," though Trump separately called the speculation premature. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanThree scenarios for how leadership races could play out in the House New Dem ad uses Paterno, KKK, affair allegations to tar GOP leaders House Dem: Party's aging leaders is 'a problem' MORE (R-Wis.) also said last month that he believed the Obama administration was slow to slap financial penalties on Moscow. 

“I think sanctions are overdue,” the Wisconsin Republican said. “So I think they should stay.”