Schumer to force vote on Trump administration move to ease sanctions on Russian firms

Schumer to force vote on Trump administration move to ease sanctions on Russian firms
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that he will force a vote on a resolution to disapprove of the Trump administration's decision to relax sanctions on companies connected to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, calling the move "wrongheaded."

Schumer will force the vote under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which requires a simple majority to proceed to the resolution to disapprove. The announcement comes days after Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinWorld Bank approves billion-plus annual China lending plan despite US objections On The Money: Congress races to beat deadline on shutdown | Trump asks Supreme Court to shield financial records from House Democrats | House passes bill to explicitly ban insider trading Hillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC MORE briefed House lawmakers on the decision to ease sanctions.

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“After consultation with the relevant committee ranking members and my colleagues, I have concluded that the Treasury Department’s proposal is flawed and fails to sufficiently limit Oleg Deripaska’s control and influence of these companies, and the Senate should move to block this misguided effort by the Trump Administration and keep these sanctions in place,” Schumer said in a statement.

House Democrats called for Mnuchin to testify last week after the Treasury Department announced it was lifting sanctions on Deripaska, a billionaire aluminum magnate with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The administration announced plans to relax sanctions on the three businesses tied to Deripaska — Rusal, EN+ and EuroSibEnergo. Deripaska will remain sanctioned and his property blocked, however.

Democrats were critical of Mnuchin's briefing, with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence: It's not a "foregone conclusion" that lawmakers impeach Trump Democrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks Sunday talk shows: Lawmakers gear up ahead of Monday's House Judiciary hearing MORE (D-Calif.) calling it a waste of time.

The decision to ease sanctions on Deripaska comes amid strained relations between the U.S. and Russia, and as special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump says he'll release financial records before election, knocks Dems' efforts House impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump MORE continues his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.