Trump administration pushing to weaken Russia sanctions bill: report

President Trump’s White House is expected to push House Republicans to change the Senate’s Russia sanctions bill to make it more friendly to Russia, according to a new report.

A senior administration official said that the White House is concerned that the bill will hurt U.S.-Russia relations and the administration is hoping to work with Republicans in the House to soften the bill, Politico reported. 

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate MORE (D-Ohio) told Politico that he has heard the Trump administration is asking House members to “slow and block” the legislation.

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“This is not something the administration is calling for us to do,” Brown said of the stronger sanctions. “I applaud the courage of a number of my Republican colleagues who said no to the administration and did the right thing for the country to keep a foreign power out of our elections.”

Democratic Rep. Krysten SinemaKyrsten Lea SinemaAbortion rights group knocks Sinema for supporting Trump judicial pick The Hill's 12:30 Report: State of the Union takeaways | Sights and sounds from the night | Virginia attorney general admits he wore blackface Arizona Senate race a virtual tie: poll MORE (D-Ariz.) responded to the report in a tweet Saturday, urging the U.S. to hold Russia accountable with “strong sanctions.”

The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation imposting new sanctions on Russia on Thursday with a 98-2 vote. The legislation also gives Congress the ability to block Trump from easing sanctions without Congressional approval. 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appeared to express concern about the bill this week in a House Foreign Affairs hearing.

"I would urge Congress to ensure any legislation allows the president to have the flexibility to adjust sanctions," he told lawmakers.

The legislation would impose new sanctions on Russian individuals tied to “malicious cyber activity” or Russia’s intelligence and defense sectors.