McConnell 'open' to new Russia sanctions
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellTrump’s isolation grows Ellison: Trump has 'level of sympathy' for neo-Nazis, white supremacists Trump touts endorsement of second-place finisher in Alabama primary 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 CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerOPINION: Congress should censure Trump for his unfit conduct How to fix Fannie and Freddie to give Americans affordable housing No. 2 Senate Republican backs McConnell in Trump fight 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." 
 
ADVERTISEMENT
A bipartisan group of senators — including Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn McCainBush biographer: Trump has moved the goalpost for civilized society White House to pressure McConnell on ObamaCare McCain: Trump needs to state difference between bigots and those fighting hate MORE (R-Ariz.) and Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis CardinCongress should think twice on the Israel Anti-Boycott Act Don’t let Congress amend the First Amendment Federal anti-BDS legislation – Common sense and constitutional MORE (D-Md.) — introduced new sanctions against Russia earlier this year. 
 
Their bill has 19 cosponsors, including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynImmigration battlefield widens for Trump, GOP Congressional investigations — not just special counsels — strengthen our democracy Wrath of right falls on Google 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.