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 SchumerElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw US women's soccer team reignites equal pay push 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 MnuchinGOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns 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 PelosiOcasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment GOP nervous that border wall fight could prompt year-end shutdown 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 MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE continues his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.