McConnell 'open' to new Russia sanctions
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP senator blocking Trump's Intel nominee Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone 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 CorkerDem Iraq War vets renew AUMF push on 15th anniversary of war Senate sides with Trump on providing Saudi military support Senate, Trump clash over Saudi Arabia 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." 
A bipartisan group of senators — including Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump congratulated Putin after his national security team told him not to: report Trump faces backlash after congratulating Putin on election win McCain rips Trump's congratulatory call to Putin as an insult to Russian people MORE (R-Ariz.) and Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Ben CardinBenjamin (Ben) Louis Cardin Senate Dem hoping Pompeo now has 'greater appreciation' for balancing national security, civil rights Time for the Pentagon to create a system to better track its spending Trump, lawmakers cautious on North Korea signal MORE (D-Md.) — introduced new sanctions against Russia earlier this year. 
Their bill has 19 cosponsors, including Sen. John CornynJohn CornynWhite House officials expect short-term funding bill to avert shutdown Spending bill delay raises risk of partial government shutdown support GOP leaders to Trump: Leave Mueller alone 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.