McConnell 'open' to new Russia sanctions
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump faces enormous test with healthcare bill More than 300 abuse victim support groups oppose GOP healthcare bill Dem lawmaker: GOP healthcare battle is like the Titantic MORE (R-Ky.) said Friday that he would be open to passing new sanctions against Russia if they get bipartisan support.  

"If [the administration] feel they need additional sanctions, or we can come up with something that seems to enjoy bipartisan support, I'd be open to it," McConnell said when asked if he would support additional sanctions on Russia. 
 
McConnell added that he would "willing to talk" to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob CorkerBob CorkerLawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria Saudis say Qatar demands are non-negotiable Overnight Finance: GOP divided over welfare cuts in budget | Lawmaker loses M on pharma stock he pitched | Yellen says another financial crisis unlikely in our lifetimes MORE (R-Tenn.) about additional sanctions over Russian President Vladimir Putin's continued support for the Assad regime in Syria. 
 
"I think it's certainly good that the administration's not lifted any of the existing sanctions," McConnell told reporters. "The Russians are not our friends. I think they've demonstrated that over and over and over again." 
 
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A bipartisan group of senators — including Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn McCainGOP governors could help bring down Senate health bill Lawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan MORE (R-Ariz.) and Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Ben CardinBen CardinLawmakers wary of Trump escalation in Syria Senators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan Dem senators urged Obama to take action on Russia before election MORE (D-Md.) — introduced new sanctions against Russia earlier this year. 
 
Their bill has 19 cosponsors, including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenators urge Trump to do right thing with arms sales to Taiwan Cornyn: Key vote to advance health bill likely Wednesday GOP ObamaCare fight faces do-or-die procedural vote MORE (R-Texas) the No. 2 Senate Republican. But it has not been taken up for the Foreign Relations Committee, and neither Corker nor McConnell have signed on to the bill. 
 
Corker said earlier this year that he is working on his own Russia bill, but signaled that it would be broader than other legislation. 
 
Senators have grappled with how to respond to Russia over its meddling in the presidential election as well as its ongoing military efforts in Ukraine and support for Assad in Syria. The Senate Intelligence Committee is also conducting a review of Russia's election interference.
  
Senators introduced legislation earlier this year to prevent Trump from lifting any Russia sanctions tied election meddling or Ukraine without oversight from Congress. 
 
Asked whether lifting some sanctions was on the table, senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told Fox News earlier this year that "all of that is under consideration," but Trump separately has called the speculation premature. 
 
McConnell also said earlier this year that Trump should not lift existing sanctions against Moscow.