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 GrahamGraham: Trump 'probably' shouldn't call use of FBI informant 'spygate' Graham on canceled summit: Trump thought North Korea was ‘playing him’ House GOP sets three FBI interviews in Clinton probe MORE (R-S.C.), Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinDem sen: No military option in North Korea ‘without extreme risks’ Deregulating firearms exports risks putting guns in the wrong hands Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation MORE (D-Md.), Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioTrump appears to confirm deal on Chinese firm ZTE Hillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Putting pressure on Trump, House passes bill barring government from doing business with ZTE MORE (R-Fla.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation Trump on collision course with Congress on ZTE Pa. health secretary: 'Sustainable funding' needed to attack opioid crisis MORE (D-Ohio), John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTo woo black voters in Georgia, Dems need to change their course of action Senate panel again looks to force Trump’s hand on cyber warfare strategy Senate panel advances 6B defense policy bill MORE (R-Ariz.) and Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillProtect air ambulance services that fill the health care access gap in rural America Dems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling 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 McConnellGiuliani: White House wants briefing on classified meeting over Russia probe GOP senators introduce Trump's plan to claw back billion in spending The Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — Trump now says Korea summit could still happen June 12 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 RyanDon't let them fool you — Republicans love regulation, too Senate harassment bill runs into opposition from House The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — The art of walking away from the deal 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.”