Trump to sign Russia sanctions bill

Trump to sign Russia sanctions bill
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President Trump plans to sign legislation slapping new sanctions on Moscow, the White House announced late Friday.

"President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

"He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign it," she added.

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The sanctions had passed with veto-proof majorities, though White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci had told CNN that Trump could sign the sanctions or "he may veto the sanctions and negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians."

The House passed their version of the legislation on Tuesday, while senators voted 98-2 on Thursday to send the legislation to Trump's desk. The bill gives Congress the ability to block Trump from lifting the Russia sanctions and includes new penalties against Iran and North Korea.

The new sanctions come as the White House grapples with several ongoing probes into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, which the president has blasted as unnecessary.

Trump has long expressed a desire to improve relations with Russia, and the White House had signaled they preferred a watered down version of the sanctions bill.

The administration reportedly pressed House Republicans in June to soften the bill, according to The New York Times.

However the new legislation effectively ties the president's hands when it comes to lifting sanctions.

The Kremlin has already retaliated against the measures, ordering a cut in U.S. diplomats and the closure of property used by Americans in Russia.

Updated: 9:59 p.m.