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 GrahamDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Overnight Defense: GOP chair blames Dems for defense budget holdup | FDA, Pentagon to speed approval of battlefield drugs | Mattis calls North Korea situation 'sobering' Bipartisan group to introduce DACA bill in House MORE (R-S.C.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress should take the lead on reworking a successful Iran deal 'Fix' the Iran deal, but don't move the goalposts North Korea tensions ease ahead of Winter Olympics MORE (D-Md.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Cybersecurity: Bipartisan bill aims to deter election interference | Russian hackers target Senate | House Intel panel subpoenas Bannon | DHS giving 'active defense' cyber tools to private sector Senators unveil bipartisan push to deter future election interference Puerto Rico's children need recovery funds MORE (R-Fla.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate campaign fundraising reports roll in Commerce sends Trump long-awaited steel report GOP Rep. Jim Renacci announces Ohio Senate bid MORE (D-Ohio), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMcCain rips Trump for attacks on press NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Meghan McCain says her father regrets opposition to MLK Day MORE (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillNSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Senate campaign fundraising reports roll in Dems search for winning playbook 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 McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit 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 RyanGOP leaders pitch children's health funding in plan to avert shutdown Lawmakers see shutdown’s odds rising Fix what we’ve got and make Medicare right this year 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.”